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

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Not impressed and quite annoyed

Author: Alice Iancu
11 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Alright, so I have been reading some of the reviews and debates around here and I'd like to add my two cents. I watched the movie without high expectations and I got what I was expecting plus some irritating moments.

Good things: the tsunami scene(s) I felt where beautifully shot and portrayed. It came suddenly and furiously it kept me glued to the seat. That's about it as far as "the good stuff" is concerned for me


1. Horrible wooden acting. The boy playing the leading child character was so stiff and annoyed me to no end...the only one doing a decent job was Naomi Watts, but by no means was I blown away. The bad acting made the characters completely void of personality and their "family connection" mostly had no depth.

2.Product placement: when the kid found the coca cola can I literally burst out laughing at how weird it felt...

3. This is not a film about the "triumph of the human spirit" unless you think the human spirit triumphs through watered-down-soap-opera coincidences and feel-good endings (although the ending didn't feel good for me). Actually it just felt overall like an average TV movie.

4. While I read some of the one-liners and debates around here, on one side or another, there is no way I can understand how so many still feel it is OK to focus on Western suffering and present it so shamelessly as "the triumph of the human spirit". People will say this was a story about this family (not the original Spanish one mind you) and that's just the focus of the film. OK. Fine! Now please just take a second and think about all the stories you see about families like this and all the stories you don't see about other types of families, about long lasting problems and serious decision-making. Neah, we don't want to see that, we just want to see middle-class (upper?) white people triumph, because if they triumph surely the "human spirit" a movie about a horrible natural disaster that left poor countries poorer and fighting with the aftermath still for years so come...really??really?

5. That ending! Not a feel good ending for me, as it made me realize once more what a twisted socially unjust world this is. And before anyone starts screaming, yes, I was happy they were alright. Not happy at the despair they left behind and at the empty seats in the plane. Yes, you can feel both: happy for those who make it and still outraged at a world where your money and nationality can save you. These are two different things. And playing the emotional card and saying that I should just feel for this family and leave it at that really is just beating around the bush and slamming the proverbial straw-man, while remaining so Western-centric it makes me dizzy.

Institutional racism is, among other things, about making the white story "THE STORY" and about downplaying everything else (and oh, was there a lot downplayed here). This film, as evident from a lot of the reviews, excels at this. This is the only thing its really good at. Well, hooray for that...(sarcasm pouring here).

Gave it two stars for the tsunami scenes and for Naomi Watts. As far as I am concerned that's all it deserves.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Who cares about some western family who gets reunited?

Author: psm2112 from United States
26 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So this movie was well made, meaning it had decent production value: good visuals, good effects. It offered to get you a better sense of this incredible tragedy. But, it provided little else.

1. There was hardly any story at all: some family gets separated and rejoined. Big friggin' deal - this happened to thousands upon thousands, and many more thousands lost loved ones permanently. We all read about how tragic this event was - why show us a completely unremarkable side of it? Maybe if they hadn't said "true story" as if it's so incredible you wouldn't think it happened unless they remind you that it did. But it's so banal!! Especially compared to the actual tragedies that did unfold all around these people who had their little holiday ruined.

2. The story centered on one Western family who had the privilege of jetting off out of hell once their trusty insurance agent found them. What about the rest of the people impacted? Are we really saying that the most interesting thing about the Tsunami was a bunch of rescued vacationers? You can tell that story, sure, but how can you leave out everything that changed for all the local people or the people who actually lost loved ones? This film treats the local people like scenery - they are shown positively, that's nice, but flat. The only reason it's not insulting is that this very thin film also treats the main characters like cardboard.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The Impossible is a work of art

Author: jaemiewaters from United States
5 January 2013

The Impossible is one of those movies here it starts out really slow but then it picks up to be a work of art that needs to be seen. This is a must see film that is based on a true story . It will make you stand up and cheer. It is not really a great movie for kids because there is a lot of images that may scare them. Right when the movie started i was really board with it but then it picked up i loved every minuet of it there is not a dull moment in it. I would love to watch it again. If you like movies that are based on True Store's than this is the perfect one for you you will be crying at the very end. i hope you enjoy this wonderful piece of magic as much as i did you will hope it never ends. i want to warn you it is dark almost the whole way through out the whole movie but it still is one of the world's best movies of all time. i hope you all enjoy this wonderful movie GO THE IMPOSSIBLE GO

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful film with universal appeal

Author: kylesdesk-255-829878 from Washington, DC
6 January 2013

I responded to someone who thought this movie had racist overtones. I thought it was a beautiful film with superb direction and acting.

I just saw the movie. First of all, the medium of this illustration is film. Producers and and other involved in this kind of art have to consider the mode and the way characters are able to portray the story, not just the material. I suppose the most accurate method for delivering the story would have been to have the original family star in the film. Race certainly wouldn't have been a factor in this case, would it?

When viewing art, yes you consider the artist and where he came from, his own personal story. But how far do you take this idea that 'race' should be as much a part of this story as the family and what happened to them? Should the director also be of this 'race'? Should they all meditate around the ideas that race might play? Remember, film is a form of art. One with limitations, such as time. And art also has certain rules. In film, like a ballet, you're dealing with a medium that uses time in a very different way than traditional art. Time is depicted, not in a linear fashion, but as a moment in and of itself. A ballet isn't made up of each formal move and the stories of the dancers themselves. Movement in this way is meant to capture all of these pieces as interpretive experience which can say something quite true in 2 hours about something that took a lifetime to construct: the struggle between grace and nature for example. Art in this way moves our soul, not our logic or our understanding of the progression of things in the 'real' world.

I'm sure casting is a tough job, but Naomi Watts and Ewan McGreggor both have incredible resumes and were very qualified to play these roles. These are creative decisions, not social ones. There was no 'social' argument here. A Japanese family could have played these roles just as well if the actors were decided to embrace and commit the direction of this creative work. Yes it was a true story, and because of that the creative process demands certain considerations. But as far as critiquing western culture, your argument lacks premise. The family the film was based on is Spanish. And if my geography is correct, Spain IS a western country.

Culturally speaking, like every country in Europe, they have their own way of life yes, but they're still largely western in their thinking, their play, their political ideology. But once again, this film isn't about 'Spanish" culture. It's about a family. Yes they were Spanish, but as such a family they have their own familial nuances and particular way of life that I'm sure is different enough from other families in Spain to make them personal. Did it matter that the actors in the film didn't speak Spanish? They were on vacation. They played soccer. Celebrated Christmas. Played ping pong. Drank soda. And they enjoyed the amenities provided for people who are accustomed to western culture. So the fact that the cultural experience of the family in the film seemed to be British (Ewan McGregor's character was obviously Scottish) isn't in any way a distraction from what actually happened to the Belon family. I agree casting for Lucas might have yielded better results, but the outcome of the experience portrayed is unchanged.

So the premise that this film somehow falls short of a narrative accurately depicting some 'racial' truth about Maria and Henry Belon and their children is just completely absurd. The film is a narrative about deep suffering, courage, love, ... a family's desperate struggle to find each other. The husbands undying devotion to his wife. The wife's bleeding heart to help others in need. To demonstrate that character for her son. To overcome her own internal fears. And somewhat about how they perceived this new devastated world they found themselves in. How to relate to others. How to cross a language barrier. How to let strangers take care of them. These ideas in fact aren't 'western' at all. They're Universal. If you can't see that, you should spend a little more time studying these disciplines, art, culture, psychology. Before you try to impose something as controversial as race into a conversation that obviously affected the readers in a very personal way. One of the gentleman who responded on the 'Boards' actually went THROUGH this disaster, like the Belon family.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:


Author: bennyboy_360 from United Kingdom
5 January 2013

Based on the tsunami of 2004, this film offers a look at the devastation and impact of this natural disaster through the eyes of the Belon family.

This film oozes emotion through every scene; not only from the actors but the audience. At the cinema, I heard sniffles, crying and even yelps of sadness. Which shows how this film can affect people! I felt myself connect with the characters and was completely glued to the screen throughout.

Nice performances throughout helped shape the story. In particular, Tom Holland gives a realistic and emotional performance.

A film suitable for all ages and one which everyone should see. Its the kind of film that can invoke inspiration and self-realisation that we are all lucky to be alive.


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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A true story, but...

Author: Paul G from United Kingdom
27 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I often find, with films that are based on real events, the story can be weak because of that fact - unless the acting and directing are superb, and they are not. This is obviously a very sad story about a natural disaster but it is not, in my opinion, entertainment.

The scene where the tsunami wave knocks trees down, tree by tree, just looks so unrealistic, and the following scenes do nothing to convince me.

A huge amount of people died in this tragedy, and yet the family that are depicted in the story all survive and fly home to live happily ever after. I usually trust the ratings on IMDb as I think the ratings are quite harsh, but how this was given such a high rating, I will never know.

The acting was poor from start to finish – avoid.

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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Blah Family in Disaster

Author: dms-21 from United States
13 February 2013

We went to see this based on a trailer that looked great combined with excellent reviews, but were very disappointed. The worst of it was that the characters lacked depth. "Blah Family in Disaster" would be a better title for this movie, since that's what you get. It seems like the director made a half-hearted attempt to establish some emotional depth for the characters before the disaster struck, but couldn't figure out how so just gave up and hoped that seeing them going through a hellish experience was all the plot he needed. What came out is chaos without any real drama.

Need to pad this for the line counter, so if I'll just say that if you're looking for a disaster *drama* rent Earthquake, or even Deep Impact - just about anything with a disaster theme is better than this, except perhaps Mars Attacks!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant, moving, edge-of-your-seat drama

Author: vikpk from United States
2 January 2017

One of the best movies I have seen. Gripping, clear, unpretentious story telling.

One of those films you can watch again.

Some of the scenes are heart wrenching. Others are just painful to watch and make you cringe.

There are scenes that are so shockingly heart-warming in the midst of chaos, suffering, disaster and death that you would not be able to hold back your tears.

Do not pay attention to the conceited blowhard nay-say reviewers and racially sensitive political activists trying to question the value and the impact of e movie. This film will shake you and will leave you with deep sense of satisfaction.

I will also mention he absolutely brilliant acting, and cinematography.

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1 out of 1 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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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Cashing in on tragedies...

Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
31 December 2015

This movie was told from the wrong point of view. It was sort of an insult in a way that director J.A. Bayona decided to focus on a rich white tourist family and not on a local Thai family. It just made the movie tacky and somewhat distasteful.

This is my first, and last, time to watch "The Impossible" because it left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. The movie was a rather bitter pill to swallow.

The movie did have a good cast, although I am no normally fond of Naomi Watts. But she did a good job in "The Impossible". And Evan McGregor is, of course, always great.

Director J.A. Bayona played on some very cheap tricks in order to set up the audience, such as will the family see each other at the hospital even when they are within mere meters of each other.

The visual effects in the movie were good and served their purpose quite well.

All in all, this is a movie that tries to push the humane and emotional buttons of the audience. But it just came off as too racial, putting rich white tourists at the core of the story, when it should have been focused on the Thai as it was their homes, their livelihoods and their country that was struck the hardest by the tsunami tragedy.

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