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Parents' Guide to

The Impossible

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Very intense story of family's survival against the odds.

Movie PG-13 2012 114 minutes
The Impossible Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 21 parent reviews

age 18+


BROOO I saw it was pg13 and after watching 15 minutes, we were revealed a full naked body part and so much blood and a cut up body with bare skin hanging off. This show is very traumatic and gory and unnecessary straight up nudity.
age 16+

So well done, but disappointed with the nudity(non-sexual)

My husband and I remember vividly the real footage we saw on Boxing Day, and since on YouTube, so we were very excited to see this. We thought it was very well done, and depicted the event well, including the tough choice the father had to make to either take the children with him, exposing them to further horrifying sights, or to leave them with other survivors but with the risks of not knowing where exactly to find them. The only criticism I have, and it's a tough one, is that there was no reason to show a bare breast. It was not in a sexual manner, by any means, but there's never a reason to show someone's private parts on a movie. If it weren't for that, we'd probably buy the movie, but we won't watch it again.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (21 ):
Kids say (106 ):

Movies about a massively destructive event, whether it's a war or 9/11, can be difficult to watch and even more difficult to make well. By focusing on one family, director Juan Antonio Bayona wisely distills the tsunami tragedy down to the myopic perspective of one distraught woman and her mature-beyond-his-years son. Watts and Holland's interactions beautifully capture the bond between mother and child.

Watts is terrific, and Holland is remarkable -- reminiscent of young Hunter McCracken in The Tree of Life. No longer a little boy but far from a man, Holland's Lucas is fiercely determined to survive and help his mother secure medical attention. Once they safely land at a Thai hospital, the story loses some of its immediacy, but then we find out what happened to the father and brothers thought lost. The Impossible isn't an easy viewing experience, but it reminds us all that even in times of despair, there are moments of hope and small miracles to celebrate.

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