A British family on Christmas holiday at a beach resort in Thailand is torn apart when a deadly tsunami devastates the area. The film follows the seriously wounded Maria and her eldest son Lucas as they struggle to safety, not knowing whether Maria's husband and their two younger sons are dead or alive. 
- Naomi Watts as Maria Bennett, a doctor and the mother of the Bennett family.
- Ewan McGregor as Henry Bennett, the father of the Bennett family.
- Tom Holland as Lucas Bennett, the 12-year-old son.
- Samuel Joslin as Thomas Bennett, the seven-and-a-half-year-old son.
- Oaklee Pendergast as Simon Bennett, the five-year-old son.
- Marta Etura as Simone
- Sönke Möhring as Karl Schweber, a German man trying to find his wife and daughter. He joins Henry to find their families.
- Geraldine Chaplin as the Old Woman
- Ploy Jindachote as the Caregiver
- Jomjaoi Sae-Limh as the Red Cross Nurse
- Nicola Harrison as the Woman in charge of Simon and Thomas
The film was released in Spain on 11 October 2012. A teaser trailer was released on 26 December 2011. After a full-length English language trailer was released on 20 August 2012, a United States release date of 21 December 2012 was confirmed by Summit. It was released on 11 October 2012 in Spain and in North America on 21 December 2012, by Summit Entertainment. It was released in Ireland and the United Kingdom on 1 January 2013. The film was made available by Summit Entertainment through a website streaming the film to members of SAG-AFTRA for consideration of the SAG awards. 
Response to the film was positive, with much praise going to the performances of Watts, McGregor and newcomer Holland. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 81% based on reviews from 183 reviews with an average score of 7.3 out of 10. The consensus states "The screenplay isn't quite as powerful as the direction or the acting, but with such an astonishing real-life story at its centre, The Impossible is never less than compelling." At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film had an average score of 73, based on 42 reviews, which indicates "generally favourable reviews."