When The Impossible - a disaster movie starring Ewan McGregor - was announced, the film community sighed. Written off as a box office failure; the critics waiting to pounce, it would appear that director Juan Antonio Bayona has managed to pull off... the impossible?
Well, perhaps not impossible, but the emotive, powerful true story behind the film has propelled it into strong position with the reviewers. Released on New Years Day in the U.K., and a short while before in the U.S., The Impossible is certainly worth a watch, even if it won't make the end of year lists.
Empire Magazine, in a 4/5 review, say, "This rousing, superbly acted, no-holds-barred melodrama is a mighty feat of physical filmmaking," while Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian states, "This film is not especially complex, and not subtle, but there is judgment and intelligence in the simple idea of survival being the most agonising thing, and making survivor guilt the psychological aftershock of a shattering and irreparable blow." The Los Angeles Times also awarded it 4/5, saying, "It is the kind of ode to the human spirit that you hope comes along, and not just during the holiday season."
Any negative reviews draw on the film's script, but overall, the sheer horror inflicted by mother nature in this true story is compelling enough to overcome any stylistic blemishes or technical flaws. If you haven't reminded yourself that the world is amazing, humans are amazing, and that there's nothing better to do than sit in a dark room and soak up a story, then go and see The Impossible.