The Impossible

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 275 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 275

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User Reviews

  1. Jan 28, 2013
    6
    The movie, in my opinion, is a mixed bag. Some of the scenes are done perfectly yet others are so cheesy that I cringed when I was watching it.
    The phrase "like in a bad Hollywood movie" was coming to mind. The script could definitely be better. Cinematography is impeccable. Kids are not always acting believably. Overall, the movie is good but definitely not great.
  2. Jan 14, 2013
    5
    The Impossible is a movie about a family that goes on vacation to Thailand and had to survive to the tsunami. As the title of the film suggest this story is impossible to believe, although is based on true events. The plot is constructed by the separation of this five member family, in two: the mother with the older son and the father with the two following children, so they are supposedThe Impossible is a movie about a family that goes on vacation to Thailand and had to survive to the tsunami. As the title of the film suggest this story is impossible to believe, although is based on true events. The plot is constructed by the separation of this five member family, in two: the mother with the older son and the father with the two following children, so they are supposed to find each other, yet they must not only endure physical pain, but also break psychological barriers, like fears, solitude, forced independence, hopelessness and post traumatic shock. Because of that this is a story of big magnitudes, treats topics like courage, hope, never giving up, facing fears and overcoming problems. The most outstanding thing of the picture, apart from the devastation images, are the performances: Naomi Watts is fine, but Tom Holland, as Lucas, is absolutely brilliant. The only problem is that The Impossible does not have nothing new to present, the stage is different, but the message is not original at all. Expand
  3. Feb 6, 2013
    6
    "The Impossible" is a solid, well-made disaster film fueled by the human spirit fighting for survival with fine performances, especially by Naomi Watts. "The Impossible" faces and never quite overcomes, Ocean tsunami sets up an excellent premises in terms of showing the audience the aftermath of such an extravagant human atrocity. However, "The Impossible" feels every bit average, never"The Impossible" is a solid, well-made disaster film fueled by the human spirit fighting for survival with fine performances, especially by Naomi Watts. "The Impossible" faces and never quite overcomes, Ocean tsunami sets up an excellent premises in terms of showing the audience the aftermath of such an extravagant human atrocity. However, "The Impossible" feels every bit average, never rising above its own genre conventions--but it compensates with fine performances and outstanding realistic effects. The tsunami sets up the plot and the rest of the film-the catastrophic situation allows the audience to sense the aftermath of such an overwhelming human atrocity. However, "The Impossible" feels every bit average, never rising above its own genre conventions. "The Impossible" soon becomes a painful experience to endure; not for the reasons one might expect, either.
    When the tsunami slams into the resort (in the first 15 minutes), Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) are taking their family to Thailand for the Christmas period, hoping to enjoy a festive season complete with unflinching sunshine and exotic beaches. Arriving on Christmas Eve, the family rejoice through the 25th, savoring their time together in the island paradise. However, on Boxing Day a massive Tsunami crashes into their resort, leaving them separated and facing one of the nastiest natural disasters of modern times. The first half of the movie unfolds as a survivalist picture, pitting the characters against horrific conditions and devastating conditions--creating gripping tension in the process. There are inspirational moments of perseverance, families reuniting, people pulling together and overcoming. The film's most dramatic sequences focus on Lucas (Todd Holland), assigning himself the role of his mother's lifeguard and protector. However, as the film continues it becomes more disjointed with seamless wandering as it stumbles toward its denouement. In relation to seamless wandering--Ewan McGregor's performance just doesn't nearly stack up next to Naomi's Oscar worthy performance. As the husband, separated from his wife and searching for her, McGregor finds himself walking aimlessly and hopeless-- he does a lot of tripping or falling through floors and screaming. Even worse, it's through McGregor's role that we meet other people searching for family members, and this hint of the broader story makes the movie's little story seem trivial. What Juan Antonio Bayona is trying to do with "The Impossible" is honorable, but it's hampered by a weak script that does absolutely nothing with an endless number of possibilities. There are so many unique and truly tragic stories that spawned from the 2004 tsunami, but it feels like none of these possibilities were explored here. By the end of the film, I was bitterly scoffing to myself as the family was flown away on a private airplane to the safety of another country while many other families were left behind with missing mothers and fathers and sons and daughters. The story of this family just isn't as whole-heartedly inspiring as it could have been. I'm aware of the purpose of each character. They exist only to serve as a component of the guiding narrative that takes us on a "tour" of the aftermath caused by the tsunami. But because of this, the characters are nothing but cardboard cutouts of people. They're not interesting or worth sympathizing for in the most basic cinematic way because there's nothing distinguishing them from the hundreds of thousands of other people. But when watching the actual footage posted on You Tube, and listening to the real victims-- their gut-wrenching stories of their experiences, the movie fails to capture the same reaction of astonishment.
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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
    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. 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
  6. BKM
    Jun 12, 2013
    5
    The performances are all excellent; particularly those of Watts, McGregor and Holland, and the recreation of the tsunami is terrifyingly real. But The Impossible never really taps into any genuine emotions and it never digs too deeply into the horrific aftermath. It's ultimately a tidy movie about an unfathomable tragedy.
  7. Apr 28, 2013
    6
    The film starts off very unpleasant, but it eventually builds up to a solid climax, with some very inspirational and honest emotion along the way. The film is definitely not for everyone.
  8. Jun 29, 2013
    6
    It blew me away that this movie is based on true events, but for cinematic purposes the build at the ending was lacking something. Overall enjoyable.
  9. Feb 15, 2013
    5
    I have to disagree with many of the reviews here. This movie is way too fluffy. It coincides with movies like Soul Surfer.

    I have a hard time with movies that just pile on the “feel good” and “feel bad” scenes with a strict plan to simply make you cry. I know this is a true story, but the fluff makes it feel like it’s in no way a true story at all. It makes it appear not very
    I have to disagree with many of the reviews here. This movie is way too fluffy. It coincides with movies like Soul Surfer.

    I have a hard time with movies that just pile on the “feel good” and “feel bad” scenes with a strict plan to simply make you cry.

    I know this is a true story, but the fluff makes it feel like it’s in no way a true story at all. It makes it appear not very realistic. Zero Dark Thirty would be an example of a movie based on a true story that doesn’t pander to the “I really need to “feel good” and “feel bad” audience (and thus feels like it really happended).

    I do have to give thumbs up on Naomi’s performance. She was outstanding. I didn’t believe the rest of the cast’s performance however.
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  10. 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.
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. The New Yorker
    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.