First review: Watching ‘The Impossible’ when you have a fear of Tsunamis


There are very few things that truly scare me in life. Death? Nope, Bugs? Not really, Heights? Nah, Tsunamis? Literally the most terrifying thing in the world.

The idea of having nowhere to go when an all-consuming tidal wave is hurtling towards you fills me with absolute fear. It is mostly the thought of my family and (no offence to them) the very slim chance that they would survive. The origin of this fear is unknown, but as I sat in film club in year 7 watching ‘The Impossible’ for the first time, I was scarred for life. 5 years down the line and I was finally ready to watch it again.

Myself and my friends: Emily, Anna and Sam sat down with our dominoes and faced this film, knowing full well the horrors that would await. ‘The Impossible’ is a film based on the true story of María Belón and her family’s incredible survival story of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. You know when you watch a movie and it begins with “Based on a true story” and you just think oh god this is going to give me nightmares? Now imagine that appearing on the screen before you watch a whole movie about one of your greatest fears, I’m not too sure what I was thinking really.

The film wastes no time in jumping straight into the tragedy, and at about minute 13 of the film, the tsunami hits. The combination of miniature replicas of the sets, giant water tanks and wave generators (they used barely any CGI!) creates such a realistic portrayal of the tsunami that it’s hard to believe you’re watching a movie.

After the tsunami hits, the entire family is separated. That is until María (played by Naomi Watts, who I totally thought was Nicole Kidman for some reason?) and Lucas (Tom Holland) find each other amidst the debris and water. María is the most injured and the shots of her more serious injuries had us all screaming in horror. After help from some locals they both end up at the hospital. Meanwhile the father (played by Ewan McGregor-very Scottish) found the two youngest sons and is camped out at the hotel, he sends the boys to safety and stays to continue looking for his wife and other son. The whole time, each family member assumes the other is dead, creating a confusion and fear that is, I’m sure, a fraction of what the family actually felt.

The acting is amazing, especially considering how young the children portraying María’s three sons were, and the bond they managed to create between the actors made us all cry. Anna never cries at movies and by the end she was weeping. The two little boys that played Tomas and Simon were THE CUTEST little kids I think I’ve ever seen in a film, genuinely. The producing and directing are also incredible and it is clear to see how the film and its cast have garnered 67 nominations and 24 awards.

I feel like Tom Holland deserves his own paragraph. Tom Holland has earned quite the following and seems to be respected by a vast portion of the internet, which is fairly unheard of. Other than the memes about a frog in his mouth, I have never seen anything remotely rude about him, and I’m pleased because I’m secretly a bit in love with him. He was only 11 when he auditioned for the role (his first in a movie ) and he was truly amazing as one of María’s 3 sons, Lucas; Picking up 20 nominations and 9 awards in total.

My favourite scene was:

MY HEART. We were all sobbing.

The movie does an amazing job of showing this incredible reunion/survival story whilst also acknowledging the heartbreaking reality that most of the families they meet along the way, or that we see in the background, were never that lucky and instead have to tell a story of loss and devastation that I really cannot fathom.

In conclusion:

The Impossible is an excellently produced and acted movie that is a true testament to the 2004 tsunami that claimed so many lives. The music is sob-inducing, the little boys are “awwwwwwww!!” inducing and the scenes are the type to make you grimace, bite your nails and gasp all at the same time. Even despite my very rational phobia of tsunamis, I would watch it all over again. The film shows the extreme devastation through the tents filled with orphaned children, rows of bodies, and lists of missing people who were probably never found. It isn’t an easy watch, it does not stray from the gruesome and does not shy from the brutal and scary effects of the tsunami, but it is definitely worthwhile.

If this post has inspired you to go and watch the film then I suggest watching with friends and giving yourself time to recover from it all, and maybe don’t watch it if you’re 11-like I was-or you may still be recovering 5 years later.

I rate this film: 9/10

  1. Made me cry +1
  2. Made me laugh X
  3. Acting +1
  4. Keeps you interested +1
  5. Music +1
  6. Leaves you satisfied +1
  7. Cinematography +1
  8. Makeup/Special Effects +1
  9. Made me go “well!” when it finished +1
  10. Would watch again +1

2 thoughts on “First review: Watching ‘The Impossible’ when you have a fear of Tsunamis

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