The Impossible (2012) Film Review

The deadliest Indian Ocean earthquake hit the west coast of Indonesia on December 26th 2004, ending the lives of over 230,000 people with its eruption of the tsunami.

Director Juan Antonio Bayono and Writers Sergio Sanchez and Maria Belon, incredibly perpetuate this horrific event through a wonderful film. The film follows the story of a British family on Christmas vacation in Thailand who unfortunately encounters the experience of the worst catastrophe, the tsunami.

The Impossible truly takes you on an emotional journey of both survivors and victims of the mayhem. We’re shown the plight and struggle of the family’s separation and desperation. The compelling narrative together with a real story equals an outstanding film with genuine meaning.

Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in The Impossible

Hats off to the actors, which no doubt really push this film and effortlessly bring their characters to life. Naomi Watts who plays the mother; Maria superbly creates this nurturing and idyllic character. The way she presents her persona with such enthusiasm is greatly appreciated. Her pain is heard where we truly feel for her right until the very last scenes.


Lucas played by Tom Holland fully delivers his character. Tom successfully pushes the older brother role by emotionally connecting with the audience and somewhat perpetuating a hero like figure. His compassionate vibe towards his mother is so touching and real. Lucas plays a significant role where he bravely reunites other family members and his own together. The scene where he reunites with his brothers is unforgettable. The first hug when his two brothers fall into his arms is so real, so touching, so convincing. Leaving goose bumps on your arms, his performance is truly moving. With already winning the Spotlight Award and NBR award for breakthrough performance, Tom will definitely move forward and deserves all the forthcoming success coming his way.

Lucas and his two brothers reuniting – One of the best scenes!

Starring Ewan McGregor who plays the role of the Father Henry also perfectly shows his heroic spirit and stoic persona. The scene where he’s on the phone to his relatives truly shows his acting skills. The pain in his voice and shreiking tone creates an emotional scene, leaving the audience in tears. Not forgetting the two younger brothers; Thomas and Simon who add to the family’s’ ambience and present very likeable characters. I have to say that the casting has been incredibly done. Each actor perfectly creates this British family whom seem so real and are watchable. They’re love, their affection and their humour all add to this films’ uniqueness.

Ewan McGregor in The Impossible

In terms of cinematography, the film was beautifully shot. With several aerial shots portraying wide views of the destroyed island as well as experimenting with depths of field through close ups are unforgettable. The scene with the lanterns floating in the air is truly mesmerizing. Its colour, warmth and imagery look stunning.

The gratifying waves hitting the resort are unmissable. Each hit is heard, each wave is acknowledged and each scream is scarred. The water shown so powerful, forceful and strong, literally drowning the audience within the film. The sound effects and music compliment this scene through hard-hitting, cold sounds of breathing, crashing, cracking, bones crushing, cars screeching, wind blowing, people shouting and more! The list is entirely endless. The tsunami is vividly intense and drastic.


From all the shots I remember, the one that stood out is where the mother and Lucas are screaming at each other for help. We want them to reunite so badly, to be saved. Their struggle and pain in their voice is highlighted. Until finally their hands are inches apart from connecting. Simply amazing.

In contrast to the abrupt sound effects, the silence in a few scenes is genius. The subtleness and calm ambience draws you in, makes you listen closer and creates this soft sympathetic feeling.

Overall, The Impossible is an absolutely great film, with outstanding direction, cinematography and sound, but also believable actors whom bring the script to life. Without these actors, I believe this film wouldn’t have been the best it is. We are taken on this inspiring, true journey leaving us with explicit morals, to value the people we love and to cherish our lives.

With already 4 wins and 8 nominations including the Oscars, The impossible will be a true success for all the right reasons.

There’s always today, but there may not be a tomorrow.

Rating: 9.5/10

Written by: Meera Darji

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