The Impossible Ending Explained: How Much Of The Story Was True?

The Impossible‘ is a drama film that narrates an extraordinary account of how a family reunites post the disastrous tsunami of 2004. This realistic and moving picturization features a stellar cast, including Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland. If you’ve watched the movie and are now curious to know if the ending was shockingly true or not, then this article is for you.

Plot Synopsis

A destructive tsunami hits Thailand where the Bennetts are staying for Christmas, separating the family members from each other. Maria, Henry’s wife, finds Lucas, whereas Henry locates the other two sons. ‘The Impossible’ shows how, despite being surrounded by death and destruction, a family manages to stick together.

The Impossible Ending Explained

The three brothers meet outside a hospital, where Maria is undergoing treatment for her severe injuries. Fortunately, Henry sees his sons together, and the family reunites just in the nick of time. Lucas takes everyone back to Maria, who tells Henry, “You’re back, I can rest now.” But Henry reassures her that she will heal and tells her how much he loves her before she has surgery.

Movie Still From ‘The Impossible’
Image Source: NBR

While waiting outside, Lucas tells Henry that he really needs to tell his mother something. Inside the operation theatre, Maria gets flashbacks of the tsunami as she is given anesthesia. Luckily, the surgery is a success, and Henry tells Lucas that they’re all going home. Oliver Tadpole (from Zurich Insurance) meets the family outside and tells them that they will be flying out to Singapore General Hospital, where Maria will continue to receive medical care.

Lucas tells Maria that Daniel is indeed alive and happy as before the plane took off as he saw the boy in the arms of someone who seemed like his father. Meanwhile, Henry finds a piece of paper on which Karl’s wife wrote that they were going to the beach.
‘The Impossible’ is a story of survival, but instead of showing how each character desperately tries to save himself, the movie shows us how humanity makes people still care for each other during times of need. This concept is the reason why ‘The Impossible’ is an incredibly moving film.

As the ending approaches, the very combination of solidarity and anguish extends the film’s emotional range. It drives home the point that yes, while people will always strive to survive, human altruism will continue to make a difference.

Movie Still From ‘The Impossible’
Image Source: NBR

Is The Impossible Based on a True Story?

The answer to this lingering question is- yes, it is based on a true story. ‘The Impossible’ is based on Maria Belon Alvarez and her family, who were in Thailand when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit many countries back in 2004. As shown in ‘The Impossible,’ Maria was lounging by the pool when the tsunami hit, and her husband, Enrique ‘Quique’ Álvarez, and her sons, Lucas, Tomas, and Simon, were playing nearby. After the first wave of the destructive tsunami separated Maria from her family, she recalled everything and told the interviewers about how Lucas cried out, ‘Mama, Mama,’ right before all her sons disappeared underwater.

The doctors estimated that she had been underwater for three long minutes. This led her lungs to fill with water. Maria said that she was holding onto a tree nearby, waiting for the water to recede, searching for her sons. But then she heard Lucas screaming for help at a distance and swam towards him to protect him. Unfortunately, Maria suffered critical injuries during the process, from the rubble and sharp objects in the water when the second wave came. Both of them managed to swim towards land.

The real-life family on which ‘The Impossible’ was based. Image Source: LA Times

Maria temporarily bandaged her leg with palm tree leaves, but it wasn’t much effective as she lost a lot of blood. Lucas helped her walk to a safe spot and climb onto a tree where the village locals eventually rescued them. Meanwhile, Quique clung onto a tree for half an hour, convinced that he had lost his sons before he was reunited with Tomas and Simon. Still worried about the rest of his family, he began his search with a stranger. Luckily the family reunited at the hospital where Maria was taken for treatment. The family received the remaining medical care in Singapore. It took 14 months for Maria to regain her health.

Speaking about the entire experience, she said, “We were terribly lucky in a good and a bad way. Carrying this luck for life is difficult. We stayed in touch with the man my husband was with while he looked for us, but it is hard because the man lost his two babies.” But Maria also explained, “I learned what generosity was through the tsunami. People who didn’t know me spent hours looking for my family. I was always afraid of things. The tsunami was an incredible gift. My whole life is extra time.”

It was not easy for Maria to work with the project as revisiting a calamity is never easy. She later disclosed, “It was a bit painful sometimes during the whole process of working on the movie, but it is a pain that is worth going through because we truly believe in this film.”