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Nominated for an Academy Award® (Best Actress, Naomi Watts), THE IMPOSSIBLE is the incredible true story of a family caught one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But even in their darkest hours, true life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, THE IMPOSSIBLE is a journey to the core of the human heart.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 183
- Fresh: 148
- Rotten: 35
- Average Rating: 7.3/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: The Impossible is a nimbly acted drama that is at once a stellar visual achievement and a life-affirming story of familial love and courage.
Fresh: An intense and compelling family melodrama from Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona that sets a new standard for disaster cinema.
Rotten: Alas, the movie tells a rather commonplace story.
Fresh: Naomi Watts gives one of her finest, most physically commanding turns.
AN EMOTIONAL TIDAL WAVE OF TRAGEDY AND TRIUMPH
Can a film possibly be grueling and full of grace at the same time? "The Impossible" - about one family's struggle to reunite in the wake of the tragic 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami - answers that question with a thunderously sad yet uneasily affirming "yes." Based on the real-life story of the Alvarez-Belons, a Spanish family that was vacationing in Thailand when the disaster struck, this harrowing drama rises on the massive strengths of its solid emotions, viscerally gripping cinematography, and incredibly committed cast of actors - making every single frame feel all the more captivating and brutally realistic. Naomi Watts easily delivers the finest performance in her career as Maria Bennett, who along with husband Henry and three boys Lucas, Simon, and Thomas head to Southeast Asia for a Christmas vacation. She literally sinks into the role of a woman who has been emotionally and physically damaged beyond repair, so much so that I couldn't help but cringe at the painful sight of her horrifically wounded body. You can feel the pain and anguish of her character just by staring at the somber expressions on her pale face, but it's the intimate moments of silent vulnerability she shares with Tom Holland - who plays her eldest son Lucas - that truly speak volumes. Ewan McGregor is also fantastic as Maria's grief-stricken husband, who literally stops at nothing to reconnect with his wife and son Lucas in the destructive aftermath of the tsunami. There's one particularly heart-wrenching scene in which his character makes one last phone call to his father that actually left me full of tears, not just because he crumbles under the thought of possibly never seeing his family again, but also because another survivor just as bereft as him has generously loaned him the precious cellphone. It's a quietly beautiful scene that shows the true weight of human compassion in times of sheer desperation. There are actually several other scenes throughout the film that convey the same uplifting message, but I don't want to spoil any more of them for anyone who has yet to see it. Watts and McGregor are both outstanding in their respective roles, but the three boys who play their sons are just as incredibly impressive as their adult co-stars, if not more so. In his fantastic big-screen debut, Holland gives one of the most instantly memorable and remarkably complex performances displayed by any young actor in recent years. He practically carries the film on the weight of his shoulders, expertly portraying a teen who must rely on his quick wits, headstrong will, and surprising maturity to help himself and his mother survive. As for the younger boys - played by Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pengergast, their roles are reasonably small but still very effective in terms of youthful innocence. As a whole, the acting is phenomenal across the board, but I can't possibly forget the beautiful cinematography and breathless direction that truly make this drama such a viscerally unforgettable experience. From the thunderous tidal wave sequence that sweeps Maria and Lucas from the rest of the family to the brutal special effects used to create Maria's wounds, every catastrophic image and scene in this flick is masterfully crafted and visually heartbreaking to a truly unsettling degree. And while the screenplay does sometimes falter due to its overly frenetic pacing and a few infrequently schmaltzy moments here and there, "The Impossible" still stands as a powerful disaster drama that profoundly demonstrates how the human spirit can triumph over any form of adversity, no matter how great the circumstance. With its genuinely committed performances from Watts, McGregor, and Holland, harrowing score by Fernando Velázquez, and unforgettable survival story, this intimate portrait of one family's suffering, courage, and compassion throughout one of the single worst natural disasters to ever hit this planet is an instant must-see for any fan of emotionally poignant dramas. You won't regret it.
This movie brings forth so many emotions that you will leave it completely raw. This is without question one of the greatest movies I have ever seen, and that is saying something.
Worth the watch!
One of the best movies that I've seen! Very inspirational and I couldn't stop crying until the very end!