The Impossible

Rated 2.0

The driving engine here is the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the story follows a Spanish family on Christmas vacation in Thailand who were so separated and thoroughly battered but reunited against odds so long that the film's title is only a slight exaggeration. It's not made up, but it's anglicized; screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez and director Antonio Bayona, Spaniards themselves, have cast a thoroughly English family (Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as the parents). We wait for the big wave, then we watch it, then we're wading through the aftermath. There's great technical skill in the scenes of devastation, and McGregor and Watts are fine, while young Tom Holland makes an elegant display of coming-of-age as their eldest son. Yes, The Impossible may make you want to hug your kids, but it's also the kind of movie that allows the perverse pleasure of sitting through a terrible event from a safe distance. Better to donate to disaster relief.