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The Impossible (2012)

Lo imposible (original title)
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The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Director:

J.A. Bayona

Writers:

Sergio G. Sánchez, María Belón (story)
Reviews
Popularity
686 ( 615)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 28 wins & 68 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Naomi Watts ... Maria
Ewan McGregor ... Henry
Tom Holland ... Lucas
Samuel Joslin ... Thomas
Oaklee Pendergast ... Simon
Marta Etura ... Simone
Sönke Möhring ... Karl
Geraldine Chaplin ... Old Woman
Ploy Jindachote Ploy Jindachote ... Caregiver
Jomjaoi Sae-Limh Jomjaoi Sae-Limh ... Red Cross Nurse
Johan Sundberg Johan Sundberg ... Daniel
Jan Roland Sundberg Jan Roland Sundberg ... Daniel's Father
La-Orng Thongruang La-Orng Thongruang ... Old Thai Man
Tor Klathaley Tor Klathaley ... Young Thai Man
Douglas Johansson Douglas Johansson ... Mr. Benstrom
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

Spain | USA

Language:

English | Thai | Swedish

Release Date:

4 January 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Impossible See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€8,930,116 (Spain), 14 October 2012, Wide Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$143,818, 21 December 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,019,882

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$180,274,123
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film opens with the sound of a jet because that's how Maria Belón described the sound of the Tsunami. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Tenemos de todo (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Kamalani
(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

 
Harrowing, emotional portrayal of a devastating event
6 January 2013 | by parallel_projectionSee all my reviews

It would be impossible to try and capture the widespread loss and destruction of this horrible, devastating event. The scope was so large and far too many people lost their lives to even attempt to portray on film. Instead, director Juan Antonio Bayona and screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez focused smartly on the true story of one family's struggle for survival amongst all that had happened on December 26th, 2004.

This allows the film to be much more intimate, and the audience is quickly able to connect with the Bennett family, starting simply with their arrival to Thailand. While the audience was filled with dread in anticipation of what was to come, the Bennetts were blissfully unaware and enjoying themselves over vacation. However, everything soon takes a terrifying turn as the tsunami hits their resort in a horrifyingly realistic manner, sweeping up people as they attempt to flee before it or protect themselves from its awesome power.

At this point, I, too, felt like I was drowning. The camera bobs in and out of darkness, in and out of the water, as the family's matriarch, Maria, struggles for breath. Then, clinging hopelessly onto a palm tree, she screams all too realistically for anyone who could possibly help her in a desperate, surprisingly shocking moment. It is at this point where she spots her son, Lucas, floating in the fierce waves, and I held my breath as the struggled for what seemed like an eternity to reunite in the water.

In a way, Lucas, brilliantly portrayed by newcomer Tom Holland, carries the film from this point forward. He takes on the role of protecting his stubborn yet badly injured mother, and in the process he's forced to mature far too quickly. During every moment, his emotions and facial expressions convey more than any words ever could, as she shies away from and is frightened by his mother's injuries and nudity, all the while attempting to deal with the scope of the pain and devastation.

However, it is his mother, Maria, whom the film truly centers around. Naomi Watts gives quite possibly her finest performances to date, portraying harrowing desperation, stubborn determination in the face of incredible pain and agony, and, ultimately, a sense of love and care despite her deteriorating state. True, she is bedridden for about half the film, but it is during this time where there are these small moments of tenderness and humility which undoubtedly makes Watts's performance one of the best of the year.

In fact, the entire cast was exceptional, including Ewan McGregor, the father desperately trying to put together his family again, and the two littlest sons, Thomas, played by Samuel Joslin, and Simon, played by Oaklee Pendergast, both of whose innocence prevented them from thoroughly capturing the extent of this tragic event. The story of these three is intertwined with that of Maria and Lucas, as they all struggle for survive amidst the destruction and reunite amidst the chaos.

Ultimately, this is a touching and heartwarming film, as the true kindness of humanity can be seen in this time of great loss. Yes, the tsunami is terrifying, the injuries gruesome and shockingly realistic, and the pain and suffering visible on just about everyone's faces. However, the Bennetts' story is a remarkable one of love, determination, and hope, and it simply cannot be missed.


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