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Review: The Impossible

January 27, 2013


The Impossible

  • Starring: Naomi Watts (King Kong), Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge), Tom Holland (The Secret World of Arrietty) and more.
  • Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage)
  • Synopsis: “Based on a true story, The Impossible is the unforgettable account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But the true-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter during the darkest hours of their lives. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, The Impossible is a journey to the core of the human heart.” (-official site)
  • Rated: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense disaster, brief nudity, disturbing injuries and mild language.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

On December 26, 2004, one of the worst natural disasters in history hit the shores of Thailand (and surrounding areas) in the form of a massive destructive tsunami claiming the lives of almost a quarter of a million souls. The Impossible is a gripping tale of true determination and strength during that catastrophe and its aftermath that engrosses the audience through frightening sequences, heart-wrenching performances, and touching moments of human strength, compassion, solidarity and love.imposssible

Oftentimes it is truth, as opposed to fiction, that presents the greater stories, such is the case with The Impossible. This film keeps the attention throughout every single minute and every moment filled with joy, sadness, anxiety, anticipation, fear and hope. It is a story that is easy to attach and relate to as we follow the journey of a regular family, separated by the horrifying disaster of the torrential tsunami, struggling in search of accomplishing the impossible against all odds: surviving and finding each other alive and well.the-impossible-naomi-watts

The questioned possibility of a joyous reunion lingers in the back of the mind through the entire film as we see the different family members not only fight for hope and for one another, but also do the same for others as they find themselves in positions to help their fellow survivors and heed that call. The message of help and humanity is shown through their individual plights in an unforgettable manner.

I still get chills watching the scene of the wave hit. Watch a shortened version of it below if you wish, for an example of the intensity and impressive performances of The Impossible. Wow.

An impressive cast tells the story through their actions and performances in such amazing fashion. (Congratulations to Naomi Watts for her well-deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.) "The Impossible"The entire main cast works together as a unit and is completely believable in their roles. I was actually very impressed by the three young boys Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast whose first full-length live-action feature film is this movie. Their part as the Bennett family sons made this story even more real to watch. (Tom Holland is superb as the eldest of the three boys, Lucas, who faces the fearful aftermath with his mother with such maturity and strength. It is he whom we follow and feel for in the majority of the aftermath.)

Of course, that is not to take away from Ewan McGregor (one of the hardest working men in the movie industry), Naomi Watts and the extras of whom several of them were actual survivors of the 2004 tsunami. The cast completely makes this movie as there is no getting around sympathizing with their characters on screen, their emotional plight and the immense physicality of it as well, especially for Naomi Watts as Maria Bennett. (Although, I will say I would’ve preferred getting to know the characters a little bit more prior to the tsunami.)

wattsAmong several scenes that are surprising powerful moments of silence, scenes that show the immense power and destruction caused by the natural disaster and scenes portraying the loneliness and loss, The Impossible demands the undivided attention and dedication of both the heart and the mind. During a time in which several movies give us the story of superheroes with superpowers overcoming immeasurable odds that mere humans cannot, The Impossible celebrates the dedication and triumph of the “regular” human spirit and it does so very well.

Go see it, pack your tissues, and prepare for a journey that takes the intensity and severity of an event that affected thousands on the other side of the world (for many of us) and soberly brings it to where we live straight home to the hearts of viewers. It can be difficult to watch at times and while it is not IN YOUR FACE full of bodies floating in the water everywhere you turn, it is still a touching emotional trip of a movie that is elementally sad, yet terrifically sweet.impossible

A beautiful story that makes you smile and fear, gasp and tear. It is quite impossible to leave this film and not be touched by its story, its cast and its message of bravery, triumph, and more. A respectful presentation and perspective of a horrific disaster that allows the audience to feel the fear and emotions of the entire event and is one of the best disaster movies I have seen in quite some time.

Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars for The Impossible


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: Movie News Monday!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2013 10:10 am

    There you go, T. Very nicely said. One of the best films of last year, in my opinion. 😉 Glad you thought so highly of it, too. Nice one!


    • January 28, 2013 7:49 am

      I was pretty moved by it. Thank you for the kind comment here. Such a gripping movie and I am glad to see you enjoyed it so much as well.


  2. January 27, 2013 11:59 am

    I didn’t like it as much as you, but it was still a good movie. Tom Holland was incredible.


    • January 28, 2013 7:54 am

      Welcome. and thanks for reading/commenting. Tom Holland really impressed me. glad you still liked the movie!


      • February 3, 2013 9:45 am

        No problem!


  3. January 27, 2013 2:06 pm

    Pulls effectively at the heart strings throughout, while capturing the chaos and immense destruction wonderfully. However, it’s the cast that prevails and that’s all there is to it. Good review T.


    • January 28, 2013 7:55 am

      Dan the Man! the cast truly does prevail, you are so correct. Thanks for the comment man. Did you write a review for this one? I’m not sure if I missed it. I’ll check shortly.


  4. January 27, 2013 8:18 pm

    Same score as mine. It was a wonderful film, emotionally draining, but wonderful!


    • January 28, 2013 7:56 am

      emotionally draining is pretty accurate. I’m behind once again on everyone’s pages after a long weekend. I will catch up and check out your review after work!


  5. January 27, 2013 9:47 pm

    I will rent this for sure, T. The subject matter hits too close to home for me so I might be too emotional to see this on the big screen.


    • January 28, 2013 7:56 am

      I thought about you while watching it, honestly, and was curious what your thoughts were. I understand and am now even more curious to know what you think when you do see it. But you better have tissues close by.


  6. January 28, 2013 4:10 am

    Glad you like this T, I thought it was excellent. I felt myself being manipulated a little at times, especially towards the end, but by that point I didn’t really care. A really powerful story and great performances.


    • January 28, 2013 8:00 am

      I know what you mean about the manipulation. I couldn’t put it into words the way I wanted to, but the whole “missed connections” back and forth gave me that feeling towards the end. (reality vs. dramatization)? And that was part of the reason for the non-perfect score from me.


      • January 28, 2013 8:02 am

        That’s the precise part that jarred with me, it’s the first part that made me remember I was watching a dramatisation rather than a truthful account of what really happened.


  7. January 29, 2013 3:49 am

    Good to see you also are giving it a high score. I agree that the last half hour was a bit manipulative, but I could forgive the movie for it.


    • January 29, 2013 4:52 pm

      Thanks for reading the review here, Nostra. This movie was still so very good. and I find that many people are able to forgive the little manipulations


  8. January 29, 2013 10:44 am

    I’m looking forward to watching the film. I’ve never liked Naomi, don’t like her approach to acting, but I never miss anything with Ewan. His SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN is off\icially my fave movie of 2012!


    • January 29, 2013 4:53 pm

      Hi Dezzy. I still haven’t been able to check Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

      I think you will be impressed by Naomi in this one though, my friend. Very well done.

      and props to you for not missing any of Ewan’s films. I like his acting a lot and his choice of roles myself.

      thanks for stopping by.


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