Prepare to be shaken by this true story of a family that stays together when everything is stacked against them. By that I mean the Indian Ocean tsunami that wreaked havoc on Thailand in 2004. British exec Henry Bennett (Ewan McGregor) and his doctor wife, Maria (Naomi Watts), had brought their three sons there for a vacation getaway. But as tidal waves rise to 100 feet, Maria and oldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) are separated from Henry and their two younger sons, Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast).
Good luck surviving the first part of the movie as the gifted Spanish director J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage) gives the audience the astounding sensation of being swept away, dragged underwater, tangled in debris and fighting for breath. Lucas gets his seriously injured mother to a hospital just in time, but Henry is unaware and begins his own frantic search.
The film is a remarkable visual achievement, made more affecting by the depth the actors bring to their characters. The go-for-broke intensity and emotional layering Watts brings to her role is an acting triumph. And McGregor matches her in a performance of ferocity and feeling. The surprise is young Holland, who shows how the terror and anger in Lucas grow into courage. He gives this powerhouse film its grieving heart.