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
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.
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: 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: 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: Strong language includes a tween swearing. Words include "hell" and "goddamn."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Grown-ups drink at the hotel bar and a dinner party.
Fan Reviews provided by
Heart-Wrenching! by pedsarq
You should consider whether you're in the mood for a good cry or not before going to see this film. It's about the Tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004. A family of 5 get swept away and split apart by it and the movie tracks the members as they search for each other. Apparently, the government and the medical staffs did a fantastic job for the victims and that really comes through in the film. It's also a movie that showcases the value of human life by showing the power of love and strong will. I enjoyed the film, but I must admit that there were a few scenes where I was in tears. If you don't mind shedding some, you'll be treating yourself to a first-rate film with terrific actors.
Heart-wrenching example of the Human Spirit by Reel_Deal_Gal
I saw "Les Miserables" yesterday, and it didn't have near the emotional impact of this film. Literally, I sat in the theater for the full ten minutes of credits at the end just to compose myself, and even now, tearing up just thinking about it. Naomi Watts deserves an Oscar. Ewan McGregor and young Tom Holland, who plays one of their three sons, Lucas, in the film, are mesmerizing as well. The heart-stopping, gut-wrenching action starts very close to the beginning, as we see the family at and in the pool of a brand new luxury beach-side resort in Thailand on the day after Christmas, 2004. The Tsunami gives no more warning than a loud rumble and within 5 seconds, has engulfed everything in site in mind-boggling cinematography. This is a true story, with a capital "T." The producers make sure to imprint this fact on the audience by stating it not once, but twice on the opening 2 shots. In reality, the family was Spanish, but except for changing them to British for the movie, I understand
The Impossible Delivers by travelbluesea
You understand (as much as is possible) what it felt like to be there. I felt each stab of debris as victims tossed around in the tsunami. Amazing. I went back and watched you-tube videos of the tsunami and the film was spot on.
SWEEPING movie..no pun intended by edbeachbum
The visual effects are incredible. To recreate the horror of that day must have been heart wrenching! The storyline is even more heart wrenching. Bring your tissues. An incredible movie worth seeing in the theater.
Waste of time by cielilund
Kept looking at my watch....certainly could have missed this one. Can't believe Watts nominated for Oscar ...all she did was moan and pass out.
Powerful story and agonizing to watch. by Nacho Baggo
I cannot believe how well done this move was put together. The gripping emotions in each scene. The screams, the pain, the misery were at times too much for me. Watts played her deteriorating condition perfectly. McGregor had 2 heart melting scenes and both were such a release of painful emotion that the theater was in tears.The child actors were flawless and well cast. I will never figure out how this enormous catastrophe was recreated to such realism. Absolutely amazing!
Full price okay.
Horrible! by phoebem
Would have been a great story to see on 60 minutes but not a 2 hour movie!
A MUST SEE FILM ABOUT A FAMILY THAT SURVIVED THE 2004 INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI. by Peneflix
It felt appropriate to see this film on the final day, according to the Mayan calendar, of mankind?s existence; for many who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the hundreds of thousands who perished, it was apocalyptic, and second only to the devastation of the 1556 earthquake in Shaanxi (Shensi), China...
Director J.A. Bayona?s magnificently horrifying, beautifully brutal scenes of the December 26th catastrophe, leave one breathless and shaking with its validity; how anyone survived is miraculous, ?impossible?. The film is based upon a family of five who defied the odds; their tale is redemptive, cathartic, spiritual...
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!
***For full review please visit peneflix(dot)com!!!
A Horrifying and Emotional Experience You Will Rarely Find in a Film by thesilentcat4
The Impossible does things many films wish they could do. Maybe it was the fact that the film portrayed real events. Maybe it was because of the great performances by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. Maybe because it reminded of us of our own families, and how we would do anything to save them. Or maybe it was just a reminder of the great compassion humans are capable of, when most of the time we are reminded of horrible we can be. But whichever of those it was, or something else, this film will touch you emotionally to a great level. It is a horrifying portrayal of what people had to go through during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, but that is not something that should turn you off from seeing this. If anything, you should take as many of your loved ones and close friends to see it with you! It will make you feel more grateful for who you have around you, and for the people who put aside everything to help others in need.
GREAT MOVIE, GO SEE IT!
Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor astound you! by Maaz
This movie made me want to jump into it and help these characters out; this movie depicts the unfortunate reality that a tsunami can cause and how you have to push forward with what you have after it is over. The fact that its a true story makes you realize that the human spirit is capable of enduring so many things and this movie is proof. Ladies and gentlemen must bring their tissues because if you do not (at the very least) swell up in tears, you cannot have been paying attention to this movie.