User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 249 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 249

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  1. Feb 1, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Probably the best advertisement for expensive private healthcare that I have ever seen. It was watchable, emotional, and if you like a cry you may like it. Expand
  2. Apr 24, 2013
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. There is no way this movie can have a 73 rating on here. The movie is just so agonizing to watch. To start out with, there is no way the entire family could have survived this, as they show the guy and his two sons taking the full impact of the huge wave at the beginning of the movie. The boys don't even have a scratch. Just ridiculous. The endless sequence of the mother and the other son is just that...never ending moaning and screaming. They show a wound in the mother's right leg that is so huge that there is just no way she could walk, let alone...live. The blood loss would kill her in less than two minutes. The young boys say things young boys would never say in real life, it is way too obvious that they are just saying memorized lines. There is no character development whatsoever. The father leaves his two young boys, possibly all he got left, in the middle of the night to search for his wife and other son who are likely dead He doesn't even know where the boys are going. No father would do that.
    Even the only possibly redeeming scene, the wave hitting land is, cheap and bad. This could easily be Ewan McGregor's worst role. Almost two hours of agony.
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  3. Feb 3, 2013
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. What am I missing here? This is one of the worst movies I've seen recently.
    The 5-10 minute tidal wave reenactment while spectacularly filmed, can't make up for the hollowness of the remainder of the story. There is barely any character development. But the most frustrating thing is that the viewer already knows the eventual outcome of this whole pointless exercise... that all the family members are still alive and in safe hands, and that they simply need to find one another amongst the chaos of survivors/aid workers. In the real world, one knows that eventually all will be reunited (at the very latest), through a phone line and next-of-kin contact.
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  4. Apr 25, 2013
    4
    mawkish adj. 1. Excessively and objectionably sentimental. 2. Sickening or insipid in taste. To describe The Impossible as mawkish is like calling Joe Pesci's character in Goodfellas "not nice". The Impossible is one family's story of survival in the aftermath of the tsunami that struck Thailand on Boxing Day in 2004. The special effects used to recreate the tsunami are very impressive. I was saying "Wow" at that point of the movie. As the film progressed, I found myself saying "Wow" in a different manner; while rolling my eyes in disbelief at the acting and dialog. A better title for this flick would have been The Implausible.

    The screenplay is by Sergio G. Sánchez from María Belón's story. Belón is the woman portrayed in the film by Naomi Watts. Since the writers were Spanish, we can only hope that something was lost in translation since I hardly believed any of the characters' words.

    Watts does a decent job in the lead role, and it's a credit to her that she succeeds even to that extent, considering the direction and writing. Other actors don't fare as well. Tom Holland, who plays her son Lucas, shows some promise as an actor, but here he mostly comes off as an overly sentimental caricature. The other main character is the father portrayed by Ewan McGregor. McGregor's "acting" consists mainly of looking anguished in blood-smear makeup while screaming out the names of his family members.

    Director Juan Antonio Bayona has decided that the best way to convey the hardship and emotions experienced by the poor souls who suffered through this ordeal is to show closeups of their faces to the accompaniment of some Williamsesque music done to the nth degree. I could just imagine John Williams (a.k.a. The Big Schmaltzy) sitting in a theater where this was playing, wincing and saying, "Eww, too much music."

    I have to say that I felt a little uncomfortable while watching this movie. Here was a real and devastating tragedy, and I was feeling as much emotion as I do when I watch my computer run a virus scan. Those who suffered through this catastrophe deserve to have their stories told with dignity and gravitas. At the very least they deserve more than this uninspired and maudlin celluloid effort.
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  5. Aug 19, 2013
    3
    c'The Impossible' is an absorbing, well-shot, well-acted film with convincing special effects. It is based on fact. It provides the experience of having one's family caught in a catastrophe with a vividness few other films have had. My qualm is with the film-makers' decision, faced with an event that killed an estimated eight thousand people in Thailand alone and devastated countless families, to take for their subject an extraordinarily fortunate family of British tourists who were violently separated and endured terrific trauma, but who managed to find each other and return home with every family member alive.

    The story of this family is pretty inspiring, but should Bayona have considered making a film about a Thai family that did suffer loss, as innumerable families did? Is his message that when calamity strikes us we suffer great terror and difficulty, but it will all be O.K. in the end? And why are nearly all the other people we meet in this movie also European? Why are there so few Thai people? Why does nearly every one speak English? Amid so much destruction, why do we see barely any dead people? Did one of the only films made about this titanic South-East Asian cataclysm really have to star Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts?
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  6. May 25, 2013
    3
    A rather boring flick about a father, mother and three sons who are separated when a tsunami hits. The rest of the film is about them trying to find one another. That's it! The star isn't Naomi Watts but rather all the flotsam and jetsam in the aftermath of the tsunami. There are many more shots of the devastation and debris than there are of her, and for her fans, half the movie features Naomi's face full of bruises. I think you can do better. Expand
  7. Nov 9, 2013
    4
    Even if everything is heartbreaking, and the actors give their best, everything is spoiled by the unsatisfying conclusion that just cancels the whole truth of the film.
  8. Jun 11, 2013
    3
    The plot is bold and simple, soundtrack is over the top, and it is mocking the real victims of the disaster by focussing on the supposedly heartbreaking story of some westerners spoiled holiday while 300k died around them.
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jan 24, 2013
    50
    Movies are good at this sort of brute physicality, but the trouble with The Impossible is that is also tells a rather banal story. [28 Jan. 2012, p.81]
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 4, 2013
    80
    This is an affecting and emotional drama about the strength of the human spirit.
  3. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 4, 2013
    88
    Yet as fine as she and Ewan McGregor are as the parents, Tom Holland stands out as eldest son Lucas, a slightly sullen teen who learns to put other people before himself.