Box art for The Impossible

The Impossible

drama


Nominated for an Academy Award® (Best Actress, Naomi Watts) and based on the true story of one familys survival, THE IMPOSSIBLE is an epic journey to the core of the human heart.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    81%
  • Audience Score
    85%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 13
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
Language
2 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
4 out of 5

Very intense story of family's survival against the odds.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Impossible is an intense family drama set against the 2004 Asian tsunami. Because of the subject matter, there are many upsetting sequences, particularly in the first half hour after the tsunami hits. People are shown swept away and presumably killed by the rushing wall of water, and a mother is so severely injured that a part of her skin is no longer attached to her body. Parents, please know that you, too, will be affected by the horrors depicted in the film -- none greater than when a boy believes he's all that's left of his immediate family.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about whether The Impossible is a disaster movie or not. How does the depiction of the tsunami compare to other films about catastrophes? Critics have said the movie's ending takes away from its powerful beginning. Do you agree?
  • What feelings do you have while watching this movie? Is it OK to feel happy for the main characters amid so much devastation?
  • Are cinematic deaths resulting from disasters or accidents different than those due to war or other forms of violence?
  • The Impossible is based on a real family's true story. How accurate do you think it is? Why might filmmakers decide to change some details/facts? How could you find out more?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    81%
    reviews counted: 20
    see all The Impossible reviews
  • Audience

    85%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: An intense and compelling family melodrama from Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona that sets a new standard for disaster cinema.

- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rotten: A Saw movie for middlebrows.

- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, Friday, December 21, 2012

Fresh: It is the kind of ode to the human spirit that you hope comes along, and not just during the holiday season.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Friday, December 21, 2012

Audience Reviews

5 stars

Sure, it has its flaws, but in the end, it is a great film. The Impossible is intense and powerful, and brought me to the verge of tears. The acting is generally good---excellent, in fact, from the leads--the pacing is perfect, and the length of the film is appropriate. Bravo!

- fb100000293612769, Saturday, May 4, 2013

5 stars

Sure, it has its flaws, but in the end, it is a great film. The Impossible is intense and powerful, and brought me to the verge of tears. The acting is generally good---excellent, in fact, from the leads--the pacing is perfect, and the length of the film is appropriate. Bravo!

- fb100000293612769, Saturday, May 4, 2013

4 stars

Chaos and confusion. Tears and tragedy. The lingering sorrow after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which is estimated to have claimed over 230 000 lives and left millions homeless, weighs nearly a decade later still heavy in consciousness. That Sweden, among the international victims, was one of the hardest-hit countries, doesn't tear up the emotional wounds any less. Juan Antonio Bayona, who debuted as a director in 2007 with the Spanish frightener The Orphanage, conveys horrors this time of an altogether different, far more unsettling cut. Very realistically we follow a British family (originally Spaniards, whose personal experiences this film is based upon) composed of married couple Maria and Henry and their three sons, Lucas, Thomas and Simon. What was supposed to be a relaxing Christmas vacation at a holiday resort in Thailand, soon comes to an abrupt and shattering end as, in the course of mere seconds, a roaring leviathan of a tsunami wave turns the paradise into a nightmare. So authentic in its opening sequence that I literally felt cold chills all over my body for a good 15-20 minutes. The family is separated. Shocked and severely injured, Maria (Naomi Watts) and her oldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) wade through waters littered with dead bodies and driftwood. Gripping performances from them both, but stronger yet are the images, where people don't just lose their loved ones, but are literally stripped of their dignity; defenseless and vulnerable before Mother Nature's destructive forces. Some particularly touching moments come into effect when Lucas, on encouragement from his half-dying mother, looks for the other half of their family while helping others reunite with theirs. Among those is a despairing father played by Swedish actor Douglas Johansson, who reminds us once again of the many Swedish victims in the catastrophe. The screenplay has its less impressive and downright clichd instances. And granted, there are tools employed for dramatic effect. In the grand totality, however, it's nothing that deducts from its powerful whole. Because this is a film that grabs hold of you and squeezes every tear canal dry. That despite the gruesome and unfathomable, leaves us with a beautiful encapsulation of family bonds and compassion, strangers in-between. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mikes-Movie-Reviews/281824101875153?ref=hl

- CloudStrife84, Tuesday, March 19, 2013