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Dramatic plots don’t come much more powerful than the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that devastated Thailand’s coastline.
In this visually staggering tour de force, Henry (McGregor), Maria (Watts) and their three boys are separated as the mountain of water crushes their hotel. Their eldest son, Lucas (Holland, the original BILLY ELLIOT), manages to find his badly injured mum. His desperate efforts to get help are matched by Henry’s search for his family, a quest hindered by overstretched authorities trying to cope with the tsunami’s physical and human wreckage.
Director Bayona’s first English-language film is a tense, affecting account of hope overcoming huge adversity, made especially compelling by its basis in fact and its uniformly stirring performances.