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The Impossible

Released

Latest Home Video

Apr 23, 2013

MPAA Rating:

PG-13


Run Time:

107

Director

Juan Antonio Bayona

Cast

Naomi Watts

Ewan McGregor

Tom Holland

Oaklee Pendergast

Samuel Joslin

Studio

2012 Summit / Lionsgate

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: The Impossible.

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Reviewed by

Overall A-
ViolenceB-
SexC
LanguageB+
Drugs/AlcoholB
Run Time107

Making the Grades

On December 26, 2004 an earthquake in the Indian Ocean spawned a tsunami that struck South Asian coastlines with an incredible wall of water, leaving over 200,000 people dead in its wake. Around the world, people watched the news reports with a sense of dismay. But for those at the center of the disaster, the horrors only grew after the water receded. The Impossible, directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona and based on the real life experiences of Maria Belon and her husband Henry. It tells the story of just one of the thousands of families swept up in the events of that day.

Henry and Maria (played by Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts) arrive at an idyllic shoreline resort in Thailand for a relaxing Christmas vacation with their boys Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast). Then, without warning, a tidal wave of churning, dirty, debris-filled water crashes down on the resort battering the guests and employees as it plunges over them. When she finally fights her way to the surface, Maria is cut, bruised and partially unclothed from the force of the water. In the distance she catches sight of Lucas rushing along in the current. Finally, the two of them latch on to the trunk of a floating tree. But the rest of their family is nowhere to be seen.

Rescued by locals, the pair eventually ends up in an overrun hospital where Maria’s injuries worsen each day as the staff deals with an ever-growing patient load.

Meanwhile, a shoeless and blood-covered Henry, still in a state of shock, leaves Thomas and Simon in the care of a stranger (Nicola Harrison) and begins searching for his missing wife and son. But in the confusion, the two younger boys are whisked away with a truckload of orphans.

Because many of the extras in the film are actual survivors of the tsunami, there is a sense of authenticity to the emotional shock that follows the watery event. Yet the film focuses almost exclusively on “white” victims with little acknowledgement of the thousands of locals who lost not only their lives or loved ones, but their homes and livelihoods as well. (Even Henry and Maria’s family is depicted as being British although the actual family is from Spain.) The film also understates the loss of life. Rows and rows of body bags lined up on an airport tarmac and a few injured individuals lying on the side of the road don’t come close to representing the magnitude of human lives lost in this natural disaster. Although filmmakers censored the portrayal of death in this film, they didn’t edit out several scenes of female frontal nudity. While some of the scenes make sense in the context of the story, others don’t.

Still in the middle of unbelievable devastation and mayhem are incredible moments of courage and compassion. After Maria and Lucas are rescued from a tree and brought to a local village, a gray-haired woman not only tends Maria’s wounds but comforts the injured woman who can’t speak the local language. Later a group of survivors huddles together at a bus shelter, many of them protectively hoarding the last precious bits of battery life on their cell phones. But others (Sönke Möhring), in the midst of their own tragedy and pain, graciously offer their phones to strangers.

These heroic moments become the redeeming elements in this story of incredible survival. While the terrifying depiction of the tidal wave and the resulting devastation make this movie inappropriate for young viewers, adults and the oldest of teens will likely be inspired by the tenacity of the human spirit that still surfaces in the face of unimaginable calamity.

Release Date: 21 December 2012 (limited) Opens wider in 2013

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Impossible.

Why does Maria want to help a little lost child even if it puts their lives in danger? How do others risk their own safety or comfort to help strangers? Why does Maria encourage Lucas to help at the hospital? How does that change his attitude? How do people assist others in spite of the language barriers?

What are some of the realities of dealing with a disaster of this magnitude? What are the immediate needs of survivors? How easy would it be to reunite families—especially children? What kinds of long-term aid would be needed in a disaster area? Is it easy to forget about those needs once the television cameras leave an area and move on to the next big news story?

To learn more about the 2004 Tsunami and the earthquake that started it, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake_and_tsunami

Trailers & Clips

News & Views About The Impossible:

Canadian Movie Ratings

BC
SK
14A Scenes of Natural Disaster, Violence.
AB 14A Violence.
MB PG Mature Theme.
ON PG Nudity,Not recommended for Young Children.
QC 13+
NB
NS
NL
PE
Not Rated

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of The Impossible...

Home Video Notes: The Impossible

Release date: 23 April 2013

The Impossible releases to home video (Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack) with the following extras:

-Audio commentary with director J.A. Bayona, writer Sergio G. Sánchez and producer Belén Atienza and María Belón

- Two featurettes

- Deleted scenes

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