British expatriate Henry Bennett brings his wife, Maria, and family to a Thai resort for a Christmas holiday just before the disaster strikes. The family is separated as the waves hit. Badly-wounded Maria and her oldest son strive to find Henry and the other two boys against all odds.
Director Juan Antonio Bayona holds nothing back in his attempt to recreate the overwhelming disaster. The shocking reality does not make this an easy film to watch, but the harsh images are never gratuitous.
We've all seen natural disaster films, but The Impossible makes a real impact by avoiding forced moments of emotion. The film doesn't exaggerate the tragedy, and it feels like a natural and genuine effort to show how disaster brings out humanity in ordinary people.
But for a film about a disaster that devastated a vast number of Southeast Asian countries, its portrayal of the Thai characters is flat and uninspiring. It's also a shame that the Spanish family was replaced with a British one, probably in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.
Despite some minor flaws, The Impossible is a simple and serious story well told.
Contains graphic content
YP Rating: 3/5