Published February 07. 2013 4:00AM
The image of that first tsunami wave thundering over the roof of a Thai resort is scarier than anything you'll ever see in a horror movie. To say it's gripping is an understatement - the hugeness and power of the water, the surprise of the wave's arrival, the helplessness of the people in its path. "The Impossible" is a you-are-there experiential creation. It brings the audience along as a mother and her son are swept away - she is seriously injured - and the duo are separated from the rest of their family. "The Impossible" is based on what a real family went through. Naomi Watts has been nominated for an Oscar for playing the stricken but determined mother, and Ewan McGregor is good as Dad. But the three boys who play their kids are downright sublime. Tom Holland plays the elder child with perfect pitch, as the character finds himself trying to help his mother and other victims even as he fights his own fear. The younger two (Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast) are adorable - but not in a stage-kid way - and they act with relaxed realism.
- KRISTINA DORSEY