In Juan Antonio Bayona’s disaster film ‘The Impossible,’ Maria gets severely ill after getting drowned due to the unwarned tsunami that hits the coasts of Thailand. Although she gets submerged in the water, Maria eventually manages to seek safety and unite with her son Lucas. After a considerable while, the injured mother and son get treated by a few Thai people, who transport them to a hospital. While getting treated, Maria vomits a tapeworm-like thing, much to the horror of Lucas, who has red spots on his back. Maria’s illness and Lucas’ spots show the suffering they have to endure after the natural disaster hits the country!
What Did Maria Cough Up?
Maria throws up debris, specifically the organic matter she swallows while she gets drowned after the tsunami hits. Considering the vine-like appearance of the thing she vomits, it can be some sort of seaweed, brought to the land by the monstrous wave that hits the Thai coast of Khao Lak. Although it looks like a tapeworm, it is unlikely that it will grow to the same size within such a short period, which makes it clear that it’s a plant vine. In reality, María Belón was submerged for around three minutes after the tsunami hit in 2004, which explains the character’s discomfort in the film.
“I went through a lot of very difficult moments under the water – shock, and fear about the boys. I remember being pushed against walls. You could feel them trembling and breaking. I was not in physical pain but the drowning sensation was like being in a spin dryer. The doctors said I was underwater for over three minutes because my lungs were full of water,” María recalled to The Mirror. Along with the debris that settles into her stomach, Maria also deals with injuries to her leg in the film like how the real María suffered in reality.
“[The doctors] cut a piece of leg. I felt the tug. Can they throw it to the ocean. He is hungry. Very hungry. That’s why he bit all of us…” María wrote about the leg injury in a letter, as per the Los Angeles Times. “I was dying, I could feel it happening to me. When I was up the tree, bleeding very heavily with very deep wounds, I could feel the dying process. I had really bad internal bleeding as well as the external wounds,” María added about her wounds to The Mirror. Naomi Watts, who plays Maria in the movie, filmed the “throw-up scene” using a string and blackberry jam.
Red Spots on Lucas’ Back
After reaching the hospital, Lucas starts to take care of his mother Maria without even being bothered about his own injuries. When his mother asks him to help others at the place, he runs around helping a group of parents find their children. Meanwhile, reddish dark spots appear on his back. The spots can be the result of hematoma, which is nothing but a pooling of blood outside the blood vessels, over the dorsal protrusions of the vertebra. The spots can be caused by getting thrown around in the debris after the tsunami hits.
Like Maria, Lucas also gets submerged in water for a long while, likely hitting debris until he ends up on the land. Lucas’ injuries would have been more severe if María hadn’t saved him from the currents. “About 15 metres away I could see a little head, and I thought ‘My goodness, I think it’s Lucas. After that, I heard him screaming for me so I went to get him.’ […] I swam across the current and grabbed him. We held on to a tree trunk,” María said in the same interview.