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The Impossible Review

Movies.com Critics

3.0

Dave White Profile

Filtered reality. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    73

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    The Impossible is one of the most emotionally realistic disaster movies in recent memory -- and certainly one of the most frightening in its epic re-creation of the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    It's agony, in a rewarding way, to squirm and cringe and groan through an ordeal so realistically re-created.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This is a tale not only of epic disaster but also of resilience. The Impossible is a nimbly acted drama that is at once a stellar visual achievement and a life-affirming story of familial love and courage.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Yet it's not just the visuals that make the movie what it is, a thrilling, if also punishing, tale of heroic endurance. The Impossible, based on a true story, derives most of its impressive power from two remarkable performances: Naomi Watts as Maria, and Tom Holland as Lucas.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Impossible reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Very intense story of family's survival against the odds.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Impossible is an intense family drama set against the 2004 Asian tsunami. Because of the subject matter, there are many upsetting sequences, particularly in the first half hour after the tsunami hits. People are shown swept away and presumably killed by the rushing wall of water, and a mother is so severely injured that a part of her skin is no longer attached to her body. Parents, please know that you, too, will be affected by the horrors depicted in the film -- none greater than when a boy believes he's all that's left of his immediate family.

  • Families can talk about whether The Impossible is a disaster movie or not. How does the depiction of the tsunami compare to other films about catastrophes? Critics have said the movie's ending takes away from its powerful beginning. Do you agree?
  • What feelings do you have while watching this movie? Is it OK to feel happy for the main characters amid so much devastation?
  • Are cinematic deaths resulting from disasters or accidents different than those due to war or other forms of violence?
  • The Impossible is based on a real family's true story. How accurate do you think it is? Why might filmmakers decide to change some details/facts? How could you find out more?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Ultimately, The Impossible is a story of a mother and son's devotion to each other after the unthinkable has happened. The movie reinforces the random way that natural disasters cause destruction. There's no reason some people survive and others perish; it's a terrible tragedy with unthinkable consequences. But throughout the calamity, people show each other extraordinary kindness and generosity, sending the message that even in times of despair, there are moments of hope and small miracles to celebrate.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Maria and Lucas do everything they can to help each other survive. There are several times when Lucas must act like the parent and take care of his mother. He even has to literally carry and hoist her up a tree. Although it's a burden, Maria convinces Lucas to save a little toddler boy they find.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The devastation the tsunami causes is catastrophic. People are swept away in a wall of water, drowned or impaled or crushed by debris. Maria is seriously injured as her body makes impact in the rush of water. At one point, she's incredibly bloody and has a large flap of skin hanging off of her leg. People taken to the hospital are grieving the loss of their loved ones. Kids and teens will especially feel for Lucas, who at one point believes his mother is dead. Both Maria and Henry think the other has died. A tween yells at his mother a few times.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Adults at the resort kiss and dance and embrace. There's nudity, but in a completely asexual way. The mom, who was wearing a bathing suit when the tsunami struck, doesn't realize her breast is exposed until her son mentions it.

  • language false2

    Language: Strong language includes a tween swearing. Words include "hell" and "goddamn."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Grown-ups drink at the hotel bar and a dinner party.

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