The Impossible tells the story of a family separated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and who struggle to find each other again. What results is a movie showcasing the devastation left in the wake of this real life disaster, a powerful reminder of the true might of nature.
I have heard criticisms of this movie as being over-sentimentalized and emotionally manipulative. And while there are certainly hints of that, I personally didn’t find it t be that much of a problem. In fact, I found some of the big moments near the end to be really strong emotional payoffs, especially the scene with the brothers outside the hospital. There’s also a scene with the boy who was not from the family, Danial, that I found quite touching as well, though I can still see how it could be viewed as manipulative.
The tsunami scene was just as intense as you would expect it to be. It was visually stunning and frightening in how dangerous those waters seemed. The inital tidal wave and the build up to it were very well shot. Some of the overhead shots of the rushing water did look a tad unrealistic, but the close up scenes of Lucas and his mother drifting downstream were very convincing.
As Lucas (who is probably the center of the film) and his mother set out on their journey to get to safety, what we see is a series of events and mishaps, some of which work and some of which don’t. But what their adventure dos do is provide us with a view of what it was like after the disaster, the chaos as well as the survival and aid efforts, which I enjoyed seeing. There were some cheesy moments, like when Lucas is trying to find survivors in the hospital, and when the father tries phoning home, which do seem disingenuous. But for the most part it was a captivating story.