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The Impossible

Separated by disaster. Driven by hope. 

Year: 2012 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona 
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland  
An image from The Impossible

Based on the extraordinary true story of the Belón family from Spain, The Impossible charts their experiences and struggle for survival during the immediate aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day Indian Ocean Tsunami which took the lives of more than 250,000 people.

Taking a Christmas break from their busy lifestyles Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry Bennet (Ewan McGregor) and their three young children are enjoying a relaxing holiday at a luxury Thai resort. Their care-free respite is abruptly ended by the poolside arrival of the infamous Boxing Day Tsunami, tearing apart the family and marking the start of a testing and brutal journey that pushes their endurance, faith and emotional strength to its limits.

Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage), The Impossible has received critical acclaim for the performances of Watts and McGregor, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Furthermore, Bayona has received praise from survivors, principally recognising the film’s realistic representation of the post-disaster chaos and its precise attention to detail as "beautifully accurate".

Bayona’s decision to include real survivors of the disaster is just one illustration of the lengths that have been taken to recreate the real-life trauma of the Tsunami ultimately resulting in a powerful and emotive drama portraying both the physical and emotional devastation and the raw vulnerability of life which can change in an instance.

By following the Bennet family, audiences are granted an intimate perspective of events, and whilst the film has received criticism for largely neglecting the wider consequences of the Tsunami, viewers can indisputably appreciate the way The Impossible has magnificently captured the unrefined human response to trauma; the uncertainty, fear, pain and loss that ultimately gives way to a sense of hope and a story of optimism in the face of despair.

Katie Hudson

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Screenings of this film:

2012/2013 Summer Term (digital)
2012/2013 Summer Term (digital)