Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor and based on the harrowing experiences of a Spanish family caught up in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, this real-life disaster movie will leave you awestruck.

Watts and McGregor play a middle-class British couple who are on holiday at a beach resort in Thailand with their three young sons when the tsunami strikes.

Churned and pummelled by the surging waters, Watts and eldest son (Tom Holland) surface inland to find themselves in the midst of near-total devastation.

The ensuing scenes of their struggle for survival are gripping and affecting, as are the sequences that deal with the fates of McGregor and the younger boys (Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast).

Director Juan Antonio Bayona conveys the force of the tsunami brilliantly, but it’s the way its aftermath is handled that really distinguishes the film.