The Impossible

  • 12
  • Juan Antonio Bayona (2011)
  • Sp
  • 108 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

This visceral and deeply moving true story follows the desperate efforts of a family to survive and reunite in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor give astonishingly raw performances as a married couple who, along with their three boys, are caught up in the devastation while on holiday in Thailand. The depiction of the arriving tidal wave and the ravaged landscape it leaves behind is simply terrifying but director Juan Antonio Bayona doesn't rely on effects alone to generate the film's power. There are numerous hugely affecting moments - the scenes in which oldest son Tom Holland helps hospitalised survivors find their loved ones are superbly handled - and, as he did in his debut film The Orphanage, Bayona makes poignant hope his priority. With its excellent performances, unexpectedly thrilling authenticity - it was partly filmed in Thailand and survivors of the tsunami play extras - and epic scope, this wonderfully nuanced film packs a real emotional wallop.

Plot Summary

A British family spends Christmas in Thailand, only to get caught up in the 2004 tsunami. While his mother lies injured in hospital, the eldest son ventures into the ensuing chaos to search for his father and younger brothers, whom he was separated from during the crisis. Drama, with Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland.

Cast and crew


Ewan McGregor
Naomi Watts
Tom Holland (2)
Samuel Joslin
Oaklee Pendergast
Old woman
Geraldine Chaplin


Juan Antonio Bayona

Other Information

English / Thai
Theatrical distributor: 
EOne Entertainment
Contains brief nudity.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 21 Dec 2012
Certificate 12
Entertainment One UK