The Impossible

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 291 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 291

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User Reviews

  1. Jan 5, 2013
    7
    It's a much better, more emotional movie than I thought it would be. The actor who plays the oldest son is phenomenal, and he should be considered for a supporting actor nomination come awards season. Naomi Watts is excellent, as usual. The movie as a whole, however, is a touch conventional.
  2. 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.
  3. Apr 2, 2013
    7
    The film starts with a real bang, with a ten-minute reenactment of the tidal wave and its devastation, depicted by Boyona in the most graphic and brutal way. What follows is inevitably an anticlimax, however the amazing cinematography and the incredible stand-out performance comes from 16-year-old Holland make it worth while watching till the end.
  4. Jan 8, 2013
    7
    A vacationing family (headed by Naomi Watts & Ewan McGregor) is ripped apart and struggles to survive the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. From the jarring opening image it's obvious that this is going to be heavy-handed and manipulative. The disaster is impressively imagined and their plight is certainly daunting. Even with all the pain and emotion, the frequently ominous direction and menacingA vacationing family (headed by Naomi Watts & Ewan McGregor) is ripped apart and struggles to survive the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. From the jarring opening image it's obvious that this is going to be heavy-handed and manipulative. The disaster is impressively imagined and their plight is certainly daunting. Even with all the pain and emotion, the frequently ominous direction and menacing music telegraphed the situations. Performances, including the 3 sons, are strong and special effects are convincing. There was something about it that left me flat. I was absorbed throughout, but never caught up in the drama. To me the 2006 HBO film "Tsunami: The Aftermath" was better. Expand
  5. Jan 7, 2013
    9
    The 5 members of this family seem real. I teared up several times. Kudos to the director who gets realistic performances from all the actors. It is particularly difficult to get good performances from children but he managed it. It is Naomi Watts, however, that is the centerpiece. The main crux of the film follows her and the oldest son on the path to safety. The Tsunami seemed real, andThe 5 members of this family seem real. I teared up several times. Kudos to the director who gets realistic performances from all the actors. It is particularly difficult to get good performances from children but he managed it. It is Naomi Watts, however, that is the centerpiece. The main crux of the film follows her and the oldest son on the path to safety. The Tsunami seemed real, and there is a cast of thousands around the hospital. Not sure how they filmed it but it is quite an achievement. I'm not sure I would ever want to see the film again - much of it is hard to watch, but overall a very affective film that I thought about long after the final credits. Lastly, I would like to mention that the entire movie was given away in the trailer I saw for this movie which is a shame. There is an art to making a trailer that makes you want to see the movie without giving too much away and more and more movies are giving away too much of the plot. Expand
  6. Jan 25, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Inspired and deeply affecting, notwithstanding some of the churlish notices the film received from snobbish, politically correct critics at the New York Times, The New Yorker et al. One suspects their Liberal dander was aroused because 'The Impossible' depicted the (true) story of a white family that survived a Third World disaster in which People of Color died by the hundreds of thousands. Ignore these intellectually dishonest reviewers. As an achievement in art, 'The Impossible' was excellent in every way -- the best film I've seen so far in 2013. Expand
  7. Jan 15, 2013
    10
    I am not to mourn, and this movie tears me out. With a message of love and family, this film proves to be a jewel of the tragedy and drama; giving us harrowing scenes with Naomi Watts, proving it is an Oscar nominee.
  8. 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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  9. Jan 3, 2013
    9
    The Impossible. As close as you will ever want to get to a natural disaster let alone one of the worst in recorded history. The movie is not all about when the waves hits, with the emotional performances of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts hitting just as hard. Some amazing visuals and sound design from an up and coming Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona. Interesting how I was left feelingThe Impossible. As close as you will ever want to get to a natural disaster let alone one of the worst in recorded history. The movie is not all about when the waves hits, with the emotional performances of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts hitting just as hard. Some amazing visuals and sound design from an up and coming Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona. Interesting how I was left feeling at the end which I believe is the point. I would say a must see movie. Expand
  10. 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 countlessc'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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  11. Feb 6, 2013
    7
    Frankly, I had been experiencing some obvious pains while watching thiz movie. The movie gives you an actual situation of one of the deadliest natural disasters of the 21st century. It was the mega tsunami that hit most of Southeast Asia in 2004. To be more specific, it’s based on the incredible true story of the Belon family consists of a father, a mother and three sons, which at thatFrankly, I had been experiencing some obvious pains while watching thiz movie. The movie gives you an actual situation of one of the deadliest natural disasters of the 21st century. It was the mega tsunami that hit most of Southeast Asia in 2004. To be more specific, it’s based on the incredible true story of the Belon family consists of a father, a mother and three sons, which at that time were on vacation in Phuket, Thailand. The father Henry is played by Ewan McGregor. McGregor’s character went through a lot of struggles to find his wife and son. It’s a very complex character. However, he can translate thiz character pretty well. But personally, for me, it’s the mother Maria who is played by Naomi Watts that delivers some powerful and heart-shattering performances. Watts can bring her character to life, with great emotional depth and effective improvisation. The other strong performance comes from the role of the eldest son Lucas which is played by Tom Holland. Holland creates a brilliant chemistry with Naomi Watts. The other two younger brother Thomas and Simon are played by Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast. Thiz movie is directed by young Spanish Director Juan Antonio Bayona who previously known for “The Orphanage” (2007). I can guarantee you will be in awe for the first 45 minutes of the movie, but after that, the storyline seems kind of lost. In addition to the impressive performances from the Cast members, thiz movie also provides breathtaking Visual Effects. It directly drags you into the middle of the situation. The giant tidal wave is frightening and believable. The sound of how tsunami debris hit and tear up the body is even more terrifying. There is always a meaning behind every tragedy. I appreciate the moral values in thiz movie. There is a scene, when the mother Maria tells her eldest son Lucas to help other victims though they themselves are in distress. It is praiseworthy deed and so amazing to see humanity is still alive. It’s true, nothing is more powerful than the human spirit. That’s the time when the impossible become possible.

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  12. Jan 15, 2013
    10
    Absolutely stunning. It was the first film I saw to be released in 2013 (in the United States) and already I can see it as being the best. Many times, I don't fall for attempts for sympathy in movies. This was entirely different. Prior to seeing this movie, I watched a documentary about the Tsunami which primarily seemed to primarily focus on various people who were vacationing to variousAbsolutely stunning. It was the first film I saw to be released in 2013 (in the United States) and already I can see it as being the best. Many times, I don't fall for attempts for sympathy in movies. This was entirely different. Prior to seeing this movie, I watched a documentary about the Tsunami which primarily seemed to primarily focus on various people who were vacationing to various countries in the Indian Ocean. It was brutal, sad, and disturbing. This movie being based on a true story of a foreign family that visits a resort in Thailand, it was like I was watching a dramatized version of the documentary all over again, and because of the reality of the situation, the movie was incredibly powerful in its emotion. I can easily say that this may be the saddest movie I've ever seen, and also one of the most tense. There isn't really a moment in the movie past the twenty minute mark where you won't feel at least a decent urge to cry, and honestly I'm surprised I didn't show as much outward emotion as I did - When I left the theater, I had a headache because of it. Every actor and actress in the movie did a stunning job in portraying realistic emotion and desperation, creating a sense of real fear, grief, loss, and sorrow. This movie will affect you. It certainly affected me. Expand
  13. 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.
  14. Jan 4, 2013
    8
    Very good film, good character development, the eldest son in the film is outstanding, and as you'd expect Ewan Mcgregor and Naomi watts are very good, the scene where the wave hits is very powerful and the special effects are brilliant . Throughout the film i heard many people in the cinema cry, i didn't but i was very close, the eyes were glossing over believe me. Go and watch it, youVery good film, good character development, the eldest son in the film is outstanding, and as you'd expect Ewan Mcgregor and Naomi watts are very good, the scene where the wave hits is very powerful and the special effects are brilliant . Throughout the film i heard many people in the cinema cry, i didn't but i was very close, the eyes were glossing over believe me. Go and watch it, you won't regret it :) Expand
  15. Feb 13, 2013
    8
    One of the most harrowing natural disasters in recent history forms the basis for The Impossible, the most recent film from director Juan Antonio Bayona, the acclaimed director of the Orphanage. The film follows a family vacationing in Thailand for Christmas back in 2004 when the Boxing Day tsunami hits. the film tells the true story of a families struggle to survive in the most shockingOne of the most harrowing natural disasters in recent history forms the basis for The Impossible, the most recent film from director Juan Antonio Bayona, the acclaimed director of the Orphanage. The film follows a family vacationing in Thailand for Christmas back in 2004 when the Boxing Day tsunami hits. the film tells the true story of a families struggle to survive in the most shocking of conditions following an unspeakable horror. Much like The Orphanage, The Impossible is a story more about reconnection than survival as this family of five struggle to find each other in a country that is completely alien to them, in a place where almost everyone is trying to find someone and has no time for others. Films like this have the tendency to over sentimentalize the material and its true that the film loses its identity in favor of a big dose of cheddar as the film draws to its conclusion but it almost doesn't matter after the ordeal that is the first hour. The Impossible is a grueling watch in its unbiased depiction of a people and a country ravaged by an unapologetic ocean of water. The cast is led by Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, who both give give stunning performances as Henry and Maria, parents to children Lucas, Thomas and Simon. Watts deserves her recent Oscar nomination for her all in performance as Maria, a woman with great courage and conviction tasked with the unbelievable task of keeping Lucas safe even though she doubts she will make it. Mcgregor's worried father Henry is equally as affecting as Watts is because he is exactly the opposite of Maria, he doesn't know how to hide the fear he has for his family, especially Lucas and Maria. Lucas is played with great skill by child actor Tom Hollander who shows the heart of the character even when the script forces him to film flop from a teenager to a child and back again. The characters are the best thing about the script by Sergio G Sanchez but Lucas seems to regress into a 5 year old boy half way through the film to service a side plot that is thoroughly irritating. The script itself is absolutely woeful, in fact the only reason the film isn't a 9 or a 10 is because the script is so bad it ruins both the opening and the end with the opening being unnatural and stiff and the end being over the top and borderline offensive. The actors struggle through lines about leaving the alarm on, something that in a better script would seem like a perfectly normal thing to talk about but this script is so dreadful it makes the lines seem like comedy, something you really don't expect from a film with graphic content and highly distressing themes, it just feels wrong. Overall though the film is saved by some fantastic direction through the initial wave right up to the uplifting finale, as well as by some devastating performances, none more so than Ms Watts, an actress I had not rated until this film. It's fearless and powerful and for that reason alone it will make most people bawl their eyes out in the most cathartic way possible. An emotional roller coaster of a film. Expand
  16. 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.
  17. Jun 17, 2013
    10
    A total "wow!". This film touches the deepest of emotions when it comes to family and love. This is unforgettable in every aspect. Best performance from Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. Excellent screenplay, cinematography, sound, and editing. Possibly the best film of 2012 and the-one-to-beat for the decade.

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  18. Sep 1, 2013
    10
    There's a feeling of triumph and bittersweet emotion when watching 'The Impossible', tragic yet triumphant on various levels of filmmaking, acting and adapting a true story of one of the most tragic events in history, the Indian Ocean tsunami that changed the lives of many caught off-guard in this natural catastrophe. We hear the story of Maria Bennett, who is based on survivor MaríaThere's a feeling of triumph and bittersweet emotion when watching 'The Impossible', tragic yet triumphant on various levels of filmmaking, acting and adapting a true story of one of the most tragic events in history, the Indian Ocean tsunami that changed the lives of many caught off-guard in this natural catastrophe. We hear the story of Maria Bennett, who is based on survivor María Belón, who recounted her story for the film, where we see Maria and her family visiting Thailand on their Christmas holiday, their common worries and life problems are swept away as the family is torn apart by the devastating tsunami. Naomi Watts gives a spellbinding performance as Maria, who manages to find her eldest son, Lucas (Tom Holland) nearby, but cannot see her husband or other two boys anywhere. From here we see the brute force and devastation that an 'Act of God' can deliver, injuries and sickness aside, the destruction of family is an act that is beyond repair, especially when nothing can be done to stop it.
    It's Watts and Holland who masterfully command the screen as a mother and son brought closer together by loss, young Lucas must bear seeing his mother in some very vulnerable situations, but manages to help others around him, accepting that his father and brothers may be dead.
    But it has been shot with such clarity and depth that we get one story after the other, where Lucas is in a terrible place, but his father Henry (Ewan McGregor) is also in a terrible place, more so because of how helpless he feels that he cannot find his wife and eldest son, these three stars each give performances that demand perfection and respect.
    The film shows how a situation brings the common man together, through hope and sometimes heartache, the film is a testament to the good inside everyone, something we see throughout the film as strangers from various parts of the world band together in the face of danger, and it is also a testament at how differences and problems are put away when something natural can affect the lives of everyone in the same way as the person next to them. The title hold relevance to many aspects of the film, the unlikelihood of survival, the mission of finding survivors, the devastation caused, but also the bond that can be shared in times of need, highly improbable, but not impossible.
    This is an honest and detailed film, which is shot in an emotional sense of being there, where we can relate with terror and angst with these characters, and revel in their hopeful good fortunes, the film takes pride in cataloging an horrific incident with such force and thrill, but also showing human nature winning out.
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  19. Jan 15, 2013
    8
    Focusing heavily on the human aspect, The Impossible is on the other end of disaster movie spectrum, and one born of true struggle. While the first half has plenty of carnage, the latter shows its terrible repercussion. Acting from everyone is incredibly solid, it appeals dearly to audience by showing the family's struggle in such vivid fashion and without overselling the already grandioseFocusing heavily on the human aspect, The Impossible is on the other end of disaster movie spectrum, and one born of true struggle. While the first half has plenty of carnage, the latter shows its terrible repercussion. Acting from everyone is incredibly solid, it appeals dearly to audience by showing the family's struggle in such vivid fashion and without overselling the already grandiose effect of the tragedy.

    It's emotionally moving as each member of the family tries to overcome the peril and find strength to do so in midst of the wounded. Naomi Watts (Maria Bennett) gives a fantastic performance, she really portrays the pain and helplessness, but still a mother who has to comfort her child. She displays such rivetingly agonizing grace beyond what make-up, while it helps, could possible show visually.

    Tom Holland (Lucas Bennett) is equally impressive, he's so young but already performs such mature role as a child who needs to not only cope with the catastrophe but stay firmly strong for her mother. It's one of the best performances from young actors to date. Ewan McGregor (Henry Bennett) plays the kind father convincingly, who is torn in the overwhelming circumstance. He looks weary, tired and knows he most likely will not succeed, yet marches on staggeringly for his family in daunting shattered scenery.

    This family of five endear to audience, especially the children, it's really easy to invest in their story. However, the dialogues are very plain. It's somewhat emphasized on the real life as it
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  20. Jul 21, 2013
    10
    The Impossible was one of the most suffocating and powerful emotional dramas I've ever seen and the fact that it is a true story constantly plays in the back of your mind while watching, effectively multiplying the emotion and drama even more. The acting was incredible and the special effects, especially the tsunami scene in the beginning, were fantastic. Having seen almost most of theThe Impossible was one of the most suffocating and powerful emotional dramas I've ever seen and the fact that it is a true story constantly plays in the back of your mind while watching, effectively multiplying the emotion and drama even more. The acting was incredible and the special effects, especially the tsunami scene in the beginning, were fantastic. Having seen almost most of the critically acclaimed films in the 2012 year, I can now say that they made a mistake in giving the Best Actress in a Leading Role to Jennifer Lawrence for her role in The Silver Linings Playbook. That award should've gone to Naomi Watts for her incredible and moving performance in this film. Lawrence did great but Watts was amazing, key difference in my opinion. The Academy's blunder aside, The Impossible is a movie that is definitely worth a watch. Expand
  21. 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
  22. Feb 27, 2013
    7
    Naomi Watts just seized her second Oscar nomination (ended with an inevitable lose though) in this tsunami catastrophe survival drama which happened in South Asia 2004. Directed by Spanish young director Juan Antonio Bayona (yes, it is a Spanish production in spite of its mainly English-speaking cast), which marks his comeback after the internationally-accoladed debut THE ORPHANAGE (2007,Naomi Watts just seized her second Oscar nomination (ended with an inevitable lose though) in this tsunami catastrophe survival drama which happened in South Asia 2004. Directed by Spanish young director Juan Antonio Bayona (yes, it is a Spanish production in spite of its mainly English-speaking cast), which marks his comeback after the internationally-accoladed debut THE ORPHANAGE (2007, 8/10), an ingeniously orchestrated horror-fest. The film’s first half is a lip-smacking triumph not only for the special visual effects simulating the walls of water and its overwhelming impact, it’s like HEREAFTER (2010, 6/10) meets 127 HOURS (2010, 8/10), vividly renders a kindness of faithful vicariousness on viewers through the white-knuckle self-salvage from the mother-son dyad. And if HEREAFTER could nab an Oscar nomination for BEST VISUAL EFFECTS, THE IMPOSSIBLE easily trumps it. But for the second half, the storytelling adopts a middle-of-the-road sentimentality, it is all about the reunion, still, there is a remarkable achievement for the editing team (and the cinematography group as well) to interlace Watts’ flashbacks under the water with the operation she is undergoing, which is done with an eye-opening flourish. Adapted from a true event, from one hand, it affirmatively obviates the barbs like what’s the odds the entire family (one couple with 3 son, age 12, 7 and 5 respectively) could pull through the calamity, it is a genuine miracle literally had happened (as far as the denouement concerned), so just deal with it! But from the other hand, the film shamefully sacrifices the accuracy for the sake of the emotional climax, which is a prerequisite for selling the tickets I suppose, and it worked (my eyes swelled with tears for many occasions), even simultaneously there is a tint of bathos ascending when the five of them finally find each other altogether at one place one time, it is so lame! Anyway, the film is also a victory for the cast, although Watts is bedridden for half of her time on screen, her hard-earned Oscar nomination is well-deserved, an impeccable endeavor out of the mundanity of her character (a woman try to survive under a dire circumstance). Tom Holland, the true leading man and great discovery from the film as the eldest son, has a stunning resemblance of a young Jamie Bell (what a coincidence, Tom was actually had a stint in BILLY ELLIOTS the musical to play the titular role in 2008, and call it sexism, academy never nominates teenage actors for their leading roles), most of the time he is the audience’s proxy, we see through his eyes, his precocity and gallantry dominates the most chunk of the film’s narrative and it has been executed unimpeachably. Ewan McGregor, absent for a disturbingly long time in the film, can only descend himself in a supporting part, he is a consistent great player in the race who is unfortunately always falling under the Oscar radar by only a notch, his cellphone-calling scene should be inscribed in every Oscar voter’s mind, so next time, his glory will be duly justified. Also, the great Geraldine Chaplin, delivers the punchline “the impossibility of death stars” in her unforgettable cameo.

    Juan Antonio Bayona has warranted his craftsmanship in dealing with spectacular sensations, so Hollywood might beckon him to their wonderland, even if not, I daresay the next big thing is on the rising. ps, I guess Seth MacFarlane did see this film since apart from MULHOLLAND DR. (2001, 9/10) we also saw your boobs here, Naomi, but this time we are in a rueful mood.
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  23. 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 featuresA 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
  24. Jan 7, 2013
    9
    The Impossible is based on a true story of a family who were vacationing in Thailand during the 2004 Tsunami. From everything I've read, other than changing their nationality from Spanish to British, the story is almost spot on as told by the mother of the family. That's why accusations of coincidentality I've heard leveled at this movie are far off base. After a few scenes setting up aThe Impossible is based on a true story of a family who were vacationing in Thailand during the 2004 Tsunami. From everything I've read, other than changing their nationality from Spanish to British, the story is almost spot on as told by the mother of the family. That's why accusations of coincidentality I've heard leveled at this movie are far off base. After a few scenes setting up a loving although imperfect family dynamic, the movie veers headlong into tragedy. The minutes picturing the tsunami and family members dragged along by its force are incredibly visceral. I found myself wincing multiple times. However, after these harrowing minutes, the movie goes on to show the incredible will to survive and how tragedy can bring out the best in people. The story that unfolds is both emotionally satisfying and bittersweet. Before seeing The Impossible I had mostly heard the acting was wonderful and the politics execrable. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor both do great work, but the real star is Tom Holland who also has to hold up for more screen than any other character. As for the politics, the goal of the film is obviously to tell the story of a single family who were vacationing in a resort area of Thailand. Therefore, it is unfair to accuse the film of not showing the thousands of Sri Lankans who were also killed. That being said, because of these accusations I expected to only see whites almost throughout the movie. However, this was not the case. One of the most heart-wrenching scenes in a heart-wrenching movie were the scenes of lost children without parents who were a mixture of races. How could anyone see this and accuse the movie of thinking only whites were the only victims of the disaster?

    While not a movie for people with weak stomachs, The Impossible is well worth the time of anyone who is interested in the triumphs that can come out of tragedies.
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  25. Sep 1, 2014
    9
    This film made the impossible actually possible for us. This is one of the most moving films I've ever seen. Naomi Watts and her son, played by Tom Holland, give truly gifted performances.
  26. Jan 7, 2013
    10
    The Impossible is one of the best films of 2012. Never has a movie been so depressing and at the same time so uplifting. Naomi watts does an incredible job, but Lucas, her son, is the star of the film. A movie that should be seen, remembered, and not forgotten.
  27. Jan 9, 2013
    10
    Director J A Bayona's vision for this film is simply spectacular. It manages to be extremely emotionally enticing, authentic, visually brilliant, and rooted in showcasing humanity at its finest. The entire acting assemble was flawless, but it was the scenes between Naomi Watts and Tom Holland that made this film so beautiful and real.
  28. Jan 9, 2013
    10
    Beginning with a terrifying dramatization of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which is considered to be one of the worst disasters of the history, The Impossible is an uplifting and exceptional story of a family that survives the disasters but they lose each other for some time, they don't know where to find each other, obviously, because of large casualties and also because one cannot thinkBeginning with a terrifying dramatization of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which is considered to be one of the worst disasters of the history, The Impossible is an uplifting and exceptional story of a family that survives the disasters but they lose each other for some time, they don't know where to find each other, obviously, because of large casualties and also because one cannot think properly after encountering the most shocking thing they would haven't even imagined. The story of Belon family is based on a true story of the survivors and I must say that this is an exceptional piece of story penned into the film. The cast members especially Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor give phenomenal performances, so powerful that it makes you cry at times. Their characters seem believable, you can get inspired by them, it doesn't feel like there is no development in their characters. Hats off to Juan Antonio Bayona for such an outstanding direction. From beginning to the end; everything from the occurrence of the disaster to the reunion of the family; everything from the screenplay and camera work to the editing; everything is flawless, perfect, emotional and motivating. The Impossible is clearly one of the finest and the best films of 2012. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE TEARJERKER. A MUST WATCH! Expand
  29. Jun 10, 2016
    8
    A powerful and truly emotionally harrowing drama, The Impossible is a stirring and inspirational film about the human spirit, survival, and love. Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and Tom Holland, are all incredible and emotionally powerful in this film about a true story set in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. While it was criticized for being whitewashed, the film's story is simply too powerfulA powerful and truly emotionally harrowing drama, The Impossible is a stirring and inspirational film about the human spirit, survival, and love. Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and Tom Holland, are all incredible and emotionally powerful in this film about a true story set in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. While it was criticized for being whitewashed, the film's story is simply too powerful to be constricted by race and instead it is a truly human story. Additionally, the cinematography and special effects are truly breathtaking. From beginning to end, I was struck by the beauty of this film and it really contributed to the overall inspiration and feel of the film. The direction from JA Bayona was very good and it reinforced my belief that he is a guy to watch and keep an eye on. Overall, The Impossible is a truly harrowing film that both breaks and warms your heart with ease thanks to its powerful premise and effective approach to its true material. Expand
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.