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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 136,733 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 315 user | 367 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 & 63 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:

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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?


This movie has been one of the latest produced at the so-called "Ciudad de la Luz" studios (City of Light studios), in Spain. At October 2012 this complex announced its immediate closure due to the small number of productions that have taken place in the studios. See more »


When Lucas is speaking with the Swedish man who is desperately trying to find his son, he grabs a pen and starts writing the boy's name with his left hand but in the next shot he is writing with his right hand. 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 Maltin on Movies: Awards Special 2013 (2013) See more »


Composed and Performed by For Fiesta
Voice by Lluís Segura (as Lluís Segura)
Guitar by Marc Prades
Solo Guitar by Marc Gómez del Moral
Bass by David Gallart
Drums by Bernat Vilaplana
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Watts and Holland own it...One of the Best Pictures of the Year!
28 September 2012 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

A film that captures real life the way J.A. Bayona captures it in his newest film The Impossible is a rare occurrence in filmmaking. Not only does he pay respect to the countless victims that were lost in the devastating tragedy, he makes artistic choices and liberties only the most seasoned directors can take. Starring Academy Award Nominee Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, the film tells the TRUE story about a family vacationing in Thailand when one of the worst natural disasters of our time separates them.

In the opening credits of the film, Bayona tells the audience that the story is true, but what may bother viewers and critics is how coincidental and inflated the story can seem. If it weren't in fact true, the film would fail within the first few moments. It's the notion that this did occur that demonstrates and heightens the execution of Bayona and writer Sergio G. Sanchez so brilliantly. The Impossible is the most emotional and devastating picture seen since Paul Greengrass' United 93 (2006). In the first several minutes, I was already in tears. Letting up only for short breaths, I feel like I didn't stop crying the entire time. I was invested, full body and soul, riding among the victims in a frightening state of mind. I could only imagine myself there, terrifyingly so and with appreciation now that I wasn't. The brave and committed performance by Naomi Watts is the miracle of the film and possibly the entire year. Watts falls into the role of "Maria" with perfect precision and accuracy. As a person who's only been a father for a year-and-a-half, Watts puts me right in the moment of unimaginable fear and pain. An Oscar-caliber turn as I've ever witnessed. The entire first half of the film is shared with Tom Holland, a child actor that can only be described as well beyond his years. Holland is motivated and equally as afflicting as Watts. A performance like his can only lead to more roles for him in the future. Ewan McGregor, who unbeknownst to me as gone this long without receiving any type of Oscar attention is pure magic. He shows an effortless approach as Henry, a father desperate to find his family. If there's one poor criticism about the film it's the first half of the film, where Holland and Watts dominate, is so gut-wrenching and brilliant that when McGregor and his story enter the screen, it unfortunately just pales by comparison. McGregor isn't given the most of character development to chew through but it's still an admirable work.

Cinematographer Oscar Faura's orange and yellow camera work demands the utmost attention from the viewer, gaining a near first-person view of what could have been. It's a technical achievement of the highest levels. Fernando Velasquez's somber score will only build the tears even more as your catapulted through this reenactment of terror. J.A. Bayona's direction is simplistic but delivered with reverence. A fine directorial turn.

This is a film that must be experienced by all. As you lay in your cozy beds tonight, take your loved ones for granted as they walk by you, and breath the air you so blindly feel entitled to, think about if at one moment, one single moment, from now, it was all gone. The Impossible dared me to be a better human being, a notion not many films will or attempt to convey. I'll try to listen.

It's one of the best pictures of the year!

Read more reviews @ The Awards Circuit (http://www.awardscircuit.com)

158 of 225 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
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