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The Impossible (2012)
"Lo imposible" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  4 January 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 135,235 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 315 user | 366 critic | 42 from Metacritic.com

The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 26 wins & 62 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jomjaoi Sae-Limh ...
Johan Sundberg ...
Jan Roland Sundberg ...
La-Orng Thongruang ...
Old Thai Man
Tor Klathaley ...
Young Thai Man
Douglas Johansson ...
Mr. Benstrom


A regular family - Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three kids - travel to Thailand to spend Christmas. They get an upgrade to a villa on the coastline. After settling in and exchanging gifts, they go to the pool, like so many other tourists. A perfect paradise vacation until a distant noise becomes a roar. There is no time to escape from the tsunami; Maria and her eldest are swept one way, Henry and the youngest another. Who will survive, and what will become of them? Written by Ronaldo Ferreira

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense realistic disaster sequences, including disturbing injury images and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




| |

Release Date:

4 January 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Impossible  »

Box Office


€30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$143,818 (USA) (21 December 2012)


$18,996,755 (USA) (12 April 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The scene where the tsunami hits the resort could only be filmed once. It would have cost too much money to rebuild the set. See more »


When Henry is first shown after the tsunami hits, his hair is dry and mostly neat. He immediately starts calling for Lucas and Maria, and his hair all of a sudden is very wet. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: On December 26th, 2004,the deadliest tsunami on record hit the South East Coast of Asia. The lives of countless families all over the world changed forever. This is the true story of one of those families.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title and the rest of the credits do not appear until the end of the film. The only credits that appear at the beginning are the production companies' logos and an explanation of how the Tsunami came about. See more »


Referenced in Tenemos de todo (2013) See more »


(Rivera, Larry)
Performed by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
©1995 by EMI Music Publishing Ltd. / Mountain Aplle Company
EMI Music Publishing Spain S A
All rights reserved.
International Copyright secured.
Use under kind permission by B1M1 Recordings Lda / Mountain Apple Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An amazing story, but some questions about the telling
6 December 2012 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Amazing effects and stunts, along with and solid performances balance out some artistic lapses and ethical questions in this true story of one family's experiences of the horrendous Tsunami that killed 300,000.

The downsides; there's something a little off-putting about choosing a white, privileged family as a focus, while at the same time showing almost exclusively other white people as suffering and afraid in a disaster that killed far more local people than tourists. The Thai's are certainly shown in a good light, kindly helping all these suffering whites, but even in the hospital, almost every face we see in a bed is a white one. That hint of odd racial insensitivity is also underlined by replacing the original family, who were Spanish and dark, and making them into a gorgeous blond English family, a telling choice in a 'true' story.

On a more general level, the film can feel manipulative, from the tear jerking score, to the multiple carefully framed "will they spot each other?" shots that feel like a horror film's self-conscious suspense fames, but that cinematic technique feels distractingly artificial in this more naturalistic setting.

There's no question it's exciting and at times quite moving, but I couldn't help thinking I might have felt even more deeply if it wasn't pushing so hard to control my emotions.

231 of 343 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The kid ruined this movie with his awful acting ryan_crummack
What is it with all the racism??? JaneNg
Am I the only person totally unmoved by this movie? DarlingDaintyfoot
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One of the best movies I've ever seen. Katelyn_A
For all those who claim 'racism...' TheDroidURLooking4
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