Apaches Entertainment, Telecinco Cinema, Mediaset España,

Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Marta Etura, Sonke Mohring

This is the story of a regular family, Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons, who are on a vacation to Thailand at Christmas of 2004. They were happy to get upgraded to a beachfront villa at the Orchid when the huge tsunami hits. The family is by the pool, and they all are swept away. Maria and her oldest son, Lucas (Tom Holland) survive by holding on to a log floating by, but Maria is seriously injured and there is no sign of Dad or the other two boys. Trying to survive, and to find the rest of the family is the main goal of Lucas as he does his best to help others while watching out for his Mom. This is an exciting true story of the 2004 tsunami and the horrible damage it caused, while showing the best of humanity in trying to help each other survive.

This is a very realistic movie, and a real tear jerker. The events are really impressive considering there was not a big budget for this Spanish film. The producers purposely chose to use real effects instead of CGI, which is a great choice, in my opinion. As stated by the actors on the special features, at times they were totally beaten around, hurt, and scared half to death, as the effects were done with tons of water being dumped on them! This adds a lot to the realism of the film. I can’t attest to the accuracy of all the events, but they swear it’s a true story. What transcends the family, though is all the chaos and mayhem around them. This is the story of all the survivors. Additionally, a brilliant idea from the producers was to use real survivors as most of the extras in the film. They lived through it, so knew exactly how it happened. For example, there is a little boy named “Daniel” in the film who is reunited with his father. Supposedly the father in the film is the real little boy’s father (although the boy was named Johan) and he is reacting to what happened to him in real life when he was reunited with his own son. The emotions are certainly played with, and this is a really sad and tragic story, but it’s well done, and very realistic considering what they had to work with. The real star of the film is Lucas, and there have been a wide range of reviews of his performance, all the way from wooden and stiff to academy award level. I feel he did a pretty good job. Actor Tom Holland is certainly older than the role he was portraying, as if often the case (Ralph Macchio anyone?), but he realistically plays a young man in a horrible situation. Yes, he’s not real animated, but at the same time, he’s playing someone who’s been through a horrible ordeal and he’s watching the carnage all around him. He would be in shock himself, and I can’t imagine how the real young man would react in that situation. So for the role he’s playing, I think he did a really good job. This is really his story.

This is a stunning film, and one that will truly touch you, so I think it really deserving of a lot of attention. The worldwide audience was pretty decent for this film, and it seems like only in the US, did this pretty much get ignored. I really hope it has a resurgence in Video form, and that the word will get out that this is an excellent film and one that ought to be seen. I highly recommend it, but don’t put the little kids through this. The realism will be too much for them. The PG-13 rating is pretty accurate as younger children will probably be frightened at the realistic portrayal of the tsunami.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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Movie Review - The Impossible (2012) {PG-13}, 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

3 Comments so far »


    Dave said

    April 27 2013 @ 11:40 pm

    Nice review, but a couple of comments:

    1) You are confused about Daniel. As of the time they were filming, they did not know who Daniel was (and as far as I know, they still do not). The following is from the book on the making of “The Impossible”: “BAYONA ON… JOHAN SUNDBERG (DANIEL) María and Lucas never found out what happened to Daniel, the young child who they found amongst the debris at the foot of a tree and offered to help. After losing him in the chaos, Lucas saw him again in the hospital, but it was the last they knew of him…..Jan Roland Sundberg, his father in real life, also has an important role in the movie: he is the man who he hugs in the hospital.” – De Fez, Desirée (2012-12-01). The Impossible: From an Incredible True Story to an Amazing Journey of Filmmaking (Kindle Locations 1285-1286). . Kindle Edition.
    The “his father in real life” refers to the young actor who played Daniel, not Daniel’s father.

    2) At the time of the tsunami, the real Lucas was 12. At the time of the filming Tom Holland was 13/14. However, Tom had just finished playing 11 year old Billy Elliot on the West End, and he was still quite small. I met Tom when he was 16, and he looked then to be maybe 13 or 14. So while it is true that he was a bit older than his character chronologically, physically he very much met the requirements.


    EdG said

    April 28 2013 @ 4:00 am

    Thank you very much for you comments. My sister-in-law visited Thailand and was very anxious to see this film. They have it on sale at Target this week, so we ended up visiting three Target stores before we had one that had it in stock. It was flying off the shelves. This makes me really happy, as I was hoping people would find this film and it would get the attention it deserves.

    First off, you’re right. I totally misunderstood the info I read about the boy’s father. Daniel was the real little boy, and Johan is the boy who played Daniel and the father was Johan’s father, not Daniel’s father as I had thought. That makes much more sense, actually, and I just got confused.

    As for Tom’s age, again I misunderstood something I heard in the special features on the DVD. The actors all discuss a lot about the events of making the film, and also a lot about the special effects that they did, and the ordeals the actors went through. I was lead to believe Tom is older than he is. He was born in 1996, so he’ll be 17 this year. A little more research on my part would have helped a lot, but the info on the special features was really worthwhile, and anyone watching the DVD should take the time to watch the special features. Another thing I found out about Tom Holland was that he was the voice of Sho, one of the key characters, in The Secret World of Arrietty. That is also a wonderful film. This explains why he did such a fine job in The Impossible and the criticism I’ve seen of his performance as being too “wooden” is unwarranted, and I totally disagree as I said in the review. Again, that you very much for the corrections and for the info, and if anyone out there has still not looked up this film, do it!


    David said

    April 29 2013 @ 10:57 pm

    Having seen Tom play Billy Elliot on the West End stage 4 times, the last two right before he “retired”, I was very excited to see this film, which I was able to do so at the Hollywood premier, where I had a chance to meet and talk to him, his dad and J.A. Bayona, the director.
    “The Impossible” was a victim of incredibly misguided liberal bias which, among other things, accused the producers of not showing enough of the suffering of the local population, turning the Spanish family into white Europeans, etc. (BTW, I have seen the family in pictures and the mom and dad in person; if I saw them walking the streets of London I would not be able to determine what art of Europe they were from.)
    Anyway, the end result is that it got a lot of lousy reviews by mostly internet reviewers with some other agenda.
    I am not sure this is why the production company did a stunningly bad job of promoting it, but they did.
    You can read an excellent post by Tom’s dad, Dom Holland, which talks more about the truth about “The Impossible” and what the family went through.

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