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Reviews & Ratings for
The Impossible More at IMDbPro »Lo imposible (original title)

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Horrific Event--Awful Movie

Author: Larry Silverstein from United States
27 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While I greatly respect the scope of the horrific tsunami tragedy on December 26th, 2004, in Southeast Asia, I thought the film about the survival of one family in Thailand was a major disappointment. I found the movie to be a long depressing melodrama, where the filmmakers used every "trick in the book" to pull on your heart strings. There were ridiculous coincidences that occur as well with the script being filled with clichés galore.

Although the depiction of the tsunami and direct aftermath, at the Orchid Beach Resort, in Khao Lak, Thailand was well conceived for the screen it seemed to deteriorate from there. The superb talents of both Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor I felt were quite wasted in the film.

I recognize my opinion is not of the majority here, but to me the movie was very disappointing to say the least.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

An uplifting movie with great performances

Author: estebangonzalez10 from Ecuador
14 January 2013

¨The most scary bit for me was when I came up and I was all on my own.¨

The Impossible is Spanish director, Juan Antonio Bayona's, follow up to his 2007 hit El Orfanato (The Orphanage). He has decided to change the genre, but still manages to direct a great film. This is a very powerful and emotional family drama about the true story of the tsunami that hit the coast of Asia in 2004 and a family's struggle for survival. The film is based on the main character's story: Maria Belon and the screenplay was adapted by Sergio Sanchez who had previously worked with Bayona in The Orphanage as well. The story was really well developed although sometimes the film felt a little over the top with the melodrama. Films always add a few elements to spice up the story a bit so I can't say how true this movie is to what actually happened in real life, but what I can say is that the Spanish family this film is based on is played here by a British one so there are some changes. Anyway, The Impossible works really well as a family drama and many people left the theater with tears in their eyes. This is a tear-jerker, so if you're an emotional person this film will pull your strings, especially through Naomi Watts's performance who gives a powerful and a very physically challenging one. Her Oscar nomination was very well earned although she probably won't be the winner. The film also succeeds in the technical aspect as the tsunami is beautifully shot and one of the greatest scenes in the movie considering it is one of the worst national catastrophes of our time. The imagery will remain in your head.

Henry (Ewan McGregor) and Maria (Naomi Watts) travel to Thailand for their Christmas holidays alongside their three children: Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin), and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast). They are having the perfect family vacation in the beautiful coastline of Thailand in a lovely villa. Along with several other tourists they spend Christmas Eve together and the next morning the kids open their gifts. Everything seems to be going lovely, and then all of a sudden out of the blue a giant wave comes roaring across the entire coastline taking everything along its path. We follow the wave as it washes over the entire place, then the camera follows Maria and Lucas as the current has washed them far away from the villa. Maria is badly injured, but she is glad to have Lucas by her side. This is the story of their fight for survival and struggle to reunite with the rest of their family. The tsunami scene is terrifying as we see the terrible effects it had on the population, and isn't an easy watch, but it is worth it because it has an uplifting story.

Naomi Watts has been receiving a lot of recognition for her work in this film, and she is truly amazing, but I thought Ewan McGregor also delivers a great performance as well and many people have ignored him. The children in this film are also great here, especially Tom Holland who should have received a nomination for his work in this film. He shares a great chemistry with Naomi Watts and holds up his performance to hers. My only complaint for this movie is that it goes overboard with the melodrama and intends to have everyone leave the theater with tears in their eyes, but it truly is an uplifting story. It is worth the watch and I recommend it because it reminds us that with faith we can achieve impossible things, and that we shouldn't take things for granted because things can change drastically from one moment to the next. Life is fragile, but love can conquer all.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Amazing story of an unimaginable impossible real life disaster

Author: Ilovefilmsx from United Kingdom
5 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I left the cinema feeling very emotionally drained after this film but it was totally worth it. Only after viewing it will you understand the true meaning of why the film is called the impossible!

I viewed this film with open mind and not really knowing what to expect and straight away I was gripped by it! Its filmed so well that you cant help but feel as though you are right there living through this awful experience with the family. Everyone involved did an amazing job of making sure the audience were en-captured and could almost feel what the characters were feeling. I say almost as as much as I tried to feel it I doubt you could ever know how scary heartbreaking and terrifying it must have been to live through it but the film made sure I felt it enough to thank my lucky stars I have never had to and hopefully never will!

The tsunami hits very early on in the film which I wasn't expecting but nothing more of the before shots were needed, its simple, it was Christmas, they were a loving family in paradise in a brand new hotel on the beach front with lots of other people doing exactly the same thing. None of who could have possibly imagined what would unfold without any warning! The build up was quick and thats how it would have been, one minute your reading a book or in the pool and the next hell arrives on earth.

The rest of the film needs to be seen and not explained but its a very well told story of this families journey. It leaves you stomach and heart in your mouth the whole time as everything unfolds.

In some parts its gory and you do see dead bodies, some may say this is 'too much' but it isn't, that was how it was there so thats the story that should be told. It was devastating but real. Very real. This is not a feel good film and even though the families story is amazingly impossible, there is no good ending to this as for every amazing survival story there is a heartbreaking notion that roughly 230, 000 lost their lives.

The main focus was on this families story which was exactly the right thing to do but I believe it shows enough of glimpses of other peoples stories and horrific images to show how tragic it really was out there.

I came away thinking of this amazing family but also of all those who had a very different story to tell. As I feel at the end when they are leaving the devastation to return it was brilliantly captured that although they all survived and more thankful for this than they could put into words, their faces also showed their lives would never be the same again, this would live with them forever.

I watch lots of films, I enjoy lots of different genres but I can honestly say no film has ever made me feel the way this film did both at the time and still a day later as I write this.

That in itself proves this is a must-see film. It feels real. It was real and you will not forget it.

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

An Emotional Journey Through the Human Spirit

Author: DJRMewzique from Canada
22 January 2013

I offer two pieces of advice if going to see "The Impossible." 1) Bring Kleenex 2) Bring extra Kleenex.

"The Impossible" is the true story of the Belón family. Mother, father and three children who survived the devastating 2004 Tsunami which ripped apart south-east Asia. There has been some criticism that the film "Hollywoodized" the story by "whitewashing" the family, but clearly, they have not seen the film. The beauty of this story, written by María Belón and turned into a screenplay by Sergio G. Sánchez, may never have been able to be produced had they not been able to bring in big-name stars and get the funding for spectacular special effects, so one must forget the politics and just be truly happy this story made it to the big screen at all in a form which could touch a wide audience.

Naomi Watts plays Maria Bennet who, along with her son Lucas, are separated from her husband, Henry (Ewan McGregor) and her other two sons, Thomas and Simon, after the tsunami hits the resort where they were vacationing. This is the true story of how they miraculously survived and found each other.

And a reminder of the hundreds of thousands that were not as fortunate.

Watts has been nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her riveting performance as Maria, and with reason. The amount of emotion and pain this woman pours into the role makes it easily one of the most heartbreaking of the year. Sadly, she is not a front-runner, but this performance is far more deserving than the woman who is.

And I am not one who is generally terribly impressed by younger performers, but if there was any young actor this year who actually deserves an Oscar nomination, it is Tom Holland in the role of Lucas. The depth and feeling that this kid brings to his role is astonishing for someone of his age. Unlike the other young kid that was nominated this year, Holland actually showed some actual skill in his craft and not just merely being, well, a kid.

This is not to overlook excellent performances as well by an incredible strong McGregor and, yes, the two younger actors that pulled in much of the emotional weight, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast.

"The Impossible" is an extraordinary journey of the human spirit. Not always easy to watch, but the devastation and pain is worth experiencing. Through the love of this family and the efforts of the people of Thailand, you are brought into an emotional wave almost as strong as the horrific tsunami itself while it drags you through the heartbreak to the bitter end.

Take my advice, bring extra Kleenex.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

While Trying to Recreate the Horror of 2004, Bayona Manages to Do 'The Impossible'!

Author: sandnair87 from India
21 April 2016

A married doctor couple, Maria (Watts) and Henry (McGregor), has brought their three young boys on a much-needed vacation to the coast of the Indian Ocean. In a scenic resort, the brood fit in for a gorgeous afternoon poolside with nary a Christmas tree in sight and their holiday plans prepared for a beautiful vacation. That day, however, was not to be the one they had hoped for.

A mere fifteen minutes into the film, a slight breeze catches Maria's hair, quickly turning into a whipping gust of wind. It's one thing to hear stories of tsunamis and the spontaneity with which they appear, but it's another thing to see it happen in front of you. No warning. The ground rumbles, vacationers scatter and scream, their world about to be turned upside down, forever. From complete relaxation to impending death. No warning.Separated by rushing water and dangerous terrain, Maria and their eldest son Lucas (Holland) travel as best they can on her severely wounded leg towards civilization and hopefully help. The first half of the film focuses on this pair as if Henry and their other two children were swept into the sea like so many others. Henry, however, is still alive and his chapter begins at the halfway point when he tries to seek Maria and Lucas out. From then on, it becomes about the apparently insurmountable logistics involved in getting this family back together.

Technically impeccable, 'The Impossible' gives the brutal caprice of nature its due, never romanticizing it or demonizing it. It begins as a steady radio dial, suddenly and violently spun into fits of static and garbled chaos. Director Juan Antonio Bayona conducts this symphony with a steady hand and a wonderful visual eye. He spins the focus in on a single family caught up in the disaster, personalizing the horror and bringing it home in unashamedly melodramatic fashion on its very own tidal wave of emotion. While doing so, Bayona creates one of the most traumatizing and realistic disaster sequences in history. Avoiding the temptation to fill his piece with dramatic underscore that swells as our protagonists are tumbled in the muddy waters of the invading ocean, Bayona removes all musical accompaniment for this portion permitting loudness and utter silence to fill our senses along with visual stimuli that will leave you scarcely able to breathe. This swift wrath of nature is expertly realized, but the heart of the film is in its characters and how they respond to the betrayal of the world around them.

Naomi Watts, in her career best performance, expresses the rooted emotions of a mother both physically and emotionally, filling the film with so much fearlessness and unshakable motivation, that she enraptures the audience with her survival instincts. Ewan McGregor provides able support as the distressed father and is extremely competent. Tom Holland delivers one of the strongest juvenile debuts seen in years, conveying a complex series of emotions with natural serenity.

The Impossible separates itself from the other disaster films by focusing not just on the scale of the mayhem, but the intimacy of the struggle. Yes it takes us back to an epic nightmare that was the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, but the flashback is vertiginous and horrible and oddly poetic.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Film to believe in hope, cinema at its purest

Author: psagray from Spain
7 February 2016

"Lo Impossible" is the confirmation of the director of "The Orphanage" J.A. Bayona demonstrates in his new film there are many that can be achieved impossible: It was impossible to imagine a movie theater packed but Bayona made it possible. It was impossible to imagine a Spanish film in which the history and technical bill, and leapfrog many great films but Bayona made it possible. It was impossible to believe that a film that uses as forced situations like this could move much; but Bayona made it possible.

Is "Lo Impossible" needed a good movie for our times. A reminder to everyone that hopes is a feeling difficult to extinguish. Live a cloudy day, in which each person suffering the onslaught of their particular tsunami, fractures our lives leaving defenseless before reality. Bayona, portrays a struggle against surrender with master pulse and heart of a child. His film escapes the likelihood, looking at times realism swatting the viewer to immediately touch our hearts with a story to empathize with us through their proximity in time. We all live this hell ever: the fear of loneliness; the pain; the anguish; not being able to breathe; the powerless to fix our world just close your eyes.

"Lo Impossible" film is to believe in hope, true cinema. It is emotion, tears, anguish. It is a film that lingers in the memory because in the end, the only impossible, it is put up barriers to our emotions.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

what is going on?

Author: Bambi Lena
23 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i haven't watched the trailer had no idea about the true story etc. the only thing i knew about the movie before watching it, was that it was about the tsunami in Thailand. and i thought this is a difficult topic, but it could be made amazingly. and very quickly i was wrong. i will give it one thing- it kept me involved, i was actually arguing with it. the visuals are amazing, the tsunami scenes are chilling, there is nothing to be added there. i also don't cringe at gore scenes, but this just made me angry. first the hole in her leg and her chest, i really had no need to see that, and the repeating the shame of the little boy forced to see the breasts of his mother through out the film. and her wounds are exploited beyond belief, her climbing the tree, him staring at her on the tree, the guy dragging her, again her wound was on the back of her leg and he is dragging her on the back of her legs? why? there was plenty debris around put her on something, or pull her on her side or anything that does not involve dragging a gape a hole in her leg over the ground. and god that hole bugged me beyond belief, she would have bled out like 5 times before actually getting to the hospital and getting blood. it was a huge gaping hole in her leg, and it wasn't even her only wound, and as if that wasn't enough she had internal bleeding, and she didn't die? logic? the movie actually kept me wishing for her to die at some point in order to make it more realistic. in the hospital when she sends the boy to do something. i remember actually asking if anyone in this part of the world was anything but a tourist. it is a magical place where all the people are tourists from all over the world and there is one Asian girl that is a doctor or nurse, we are never really sure. and if they didn't want to show them, at least add a few names to the list, as the boy is reading it, just add a few Asian names on the list while he goes through halls. there are scenes that are worth watching and send the message of the horrible mess and chaos of the world and emotions in these people. i knew the husband and the boys were alive, considering that this would shorten the movie immensely. so no real surprise there. but the ingenious decision to let the two little boys go alone the older one being like 7, ''to the mountains'' where? with who? how will you find them? how will you know they are safe? and making this decision after surviving this, and suspecting the death of another child and his wife just seems, unreal and just plain stupid. the mothers reaction of keeping the son next to her at all times seems much more realistic in the situation and the trauma. and the oldest boy recognizing the legs of his father, this bit was amazing. the boy looking over the fence and seeing shorts and legs of someone and running after them yelling ''dad''. and the scenes where the boys and the father are ''missing'' each other and the forced suspense of will they see each other, just feels too long and frustrating. and i feel i don't want to repeat other reviewers with the implications of switching the Spanish family with the white British family who on the plane look like from a hallmark card, no local people in the movie, etc. as these have been pointed out so many times already.

i think this movie got the reviews it did for the really amazing scenes and sound of it. and because of something that i think the filmmakers were counting on. its a drama disaster movie. the sole premise that the disaster has already happened to a huge amount of people will make people feel horrified, scared and sympathetic to the victims of the tsunami. it felt the same for me. the problem is they might have thought that this coupled with the happy ending(for this imaginary particular upper class family)will be enough to involve and satisfy and reach out to viewers. i think they were wrong. i honestly look forward to someone doing a real and seriously thought out film about such topics, as i feel they need to be addressed and i think the movie industry has it in itself to make an amazing retelling of the stories, of tragedies worth being mentioned, that can shake our very core and the perception of our existence.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not just a disaster flick

Author: Laakbaar from The Netherlands
18 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's psychologically difficult to imagine the scale not just of the 2004 tsunami itself, but of the human suffering it caused. The only way to grasp it really is to focus on individual stories (remembering that millions of people each have a similar story).

In this movie we follow what happened to an ordinary (British?) family, Maria, Henry and their three young sons. The depiction of the tsunami not long after the start is harrowing and at times difficult to watch. You cannot help but wonder how on earth they could have filmed those scenes (or created them using computer graphics, if that's what it was).

Fortunately this is an intelligent, sensitive film that does not attempt to recast these events as a cheesy Hollywood disaster film.

For the rest of the movie, we follow the family members to see whether they have all survived and, if so, whether they can find each other in the post-disaster confusion that followed.

The performances here were all first rate. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are fine actors, and they deliver worthy performances in this film. The scene in which Ewan McGregor breaks down while calling his family moved me to tears. Some superb acting there. Tom Holland also shows much promise as a young actor.

If this movie has a fault, it's in its unrelenting tugging at the heart strings. "Suffering porn" and "shamless tear-jerking" were the phrases that came to mind while I was watching parts of it, although in hindsight perhaps that is quite unfair. The director had to walk a fine line in creating a film like this. After all, a quarter million people died, and many, many others had far more devastating experiences than this family.

The film succeeds magnificently in showing us a little what it must have been like to live through this tragedy. (However, I haven't read the other reviews so I don't know if the survivors feel that way about the film.) Ultimately, this is not so much a story about the tsunami as a story about a family's love for each other.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An Epic and Emotional Movie

Author: mtg-10 from Lebanon
18 February 2013

This is a movie that amazed me and may be one of the best movies I have ever seen. The Impossible is an epic recreation of the disastrous 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The movie is just very emotional, that really allows you to engage with the characters. And I think that is something that was allowed due to the fact that the director 'J.A. Bayona' did a great job. He did a phenomenal job bringing the realism into this movie.

The stars of the movie were definitely Naomi Watts, Tom Holloway and Ewan Mcgregor.Naomi Watts was epic and the emotions she was able to convey to us was beyond belief.The surprise of the movie and the star was Tom Halloway.

I cannot believe that it was snubbed in the academy awards for best picture, score, supporting actor, and actor. This shows that interest and politics do play a role in the nomination process.

In the end, this cast was one of the best cast of recent time, due to the fact that their performances were awesome. This movie is one of the best disaster movie of recent time, if not ever, and definitely one that need to be seen.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Moving film with outstanding performances and a story that everyone should be told

Author: Deanna Marshall from United Kingdom
21 January 2013

This film is so hard-hitting and most of that comes from the foreboding at the beginning. However, despite knowing what is going to happen it still shocks you and the foreboding only helps add to your experience. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts both give fantastic performances in their roles but are outshone by the child cast. Oaklee Pendergast and Samuel Joslin are brilliant and I would have liked to see more of them in the story and Tom Holland is perfectly cast as the older son Lucas. His acting is phenomenal for his young age and I would definitely like to see him get an award for this performance. A lot of people have slated the film for focusing on one vacationing family instead of the local people who were affected also but I believe that you understand the scale of the disaster despite this. It was a lot more gory than I expected and although I have seen gory horror films (Saw, Se7en etc.) I found this much harder to watch because you know it is based on a true story and when watching, due to the amazing performances you really connect with the characters. My friend was close to leaving the cinema he found it so hard to watch but afterwards he said it was worth getting through and he was glad he watched the rest. There is also some nudity, but it is not sexual and whilst I don't think all of it was necessary, it only adds to the sense of disaster. Juan Antonio Bayona's direction is fantastic and the cinematography is breath-taking, despite the tragedy being told it is quite beautiful. The effects are also incredible and this helps to bring home the impact the tsunami had. I didn't know much of the tragedy as I was only young when it happened, but this film really opened my eyes and helped me to understand how tragic the event was. The performances and the story of 'The Impossible' is so moving and the music adds to this, out of the five of us who went to see it, only one of us didn't cry and she was still shaken by it. I recommend taking tissues just in case. The whole audience in the cinema was entranced by this film which you do not see often. You really connect with the characters and the story hits hard. Although this film has a big emotional impact however, underneath it has a lovely message about the amazing endurance of humanity and the love between families that can withstand so much. This is not an easy film to watch but I completely recommend it, to the point where I think is should be compulsory for all to watch it.

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