6 Great Movies With Dumb-Sounding Pitches

1) The Impossible

The Impossible

If I had been reading about a Kickstarter campaign back in 2011 where the only information offered detailed the story of a British family vacationing over Christmas in Thailand when the disastrous tsunami hit back in 2004, and chronicled their great white survival tale in the face of this horrible event that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions more losing their homes, I would have promptly closed the tab and, I don’t know, written a snarky tweet or something. In fact, when I first learned about The Impossible, that’s probably pretty much exactly what I did. Because in the abstract, this sounds like a fairly insensitive story that glosses over a horrific tragedy by showing a rich white family that came out of it ok. Happy endings all around.

That would be the pitch; the reality was that the movie was a tremendously sensitive, self-consciously narrow in scope story that a real life family actually experienced during the tragedy. The film does not hide the fact that this story is exceptional, nor that it depended greatly on tremendous fortune in the midst of terrible suffering. In the end, it’s not exactly satisfying.

It’s deeply affecting, to be sure, thanks to the direction of Juan Antonio Bayona, the director behind the underrated The Orphanage from 2007. This is a story that very easily could have been made as a cheesy family story that ignored the devastation of this real life event. Instead, it handled it with a tragic sense of awareness and sadness, finding the faintest glimmer of a happy story deep in the heart of one of the deadliest events in recorded history.