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4 out of 4 stars

The Impossible
Directed by
J.A. Bayona

There are many films to be made about the cataclysmic Indian Ocean tsunami of December, 2004, and some viewers may consider it a strike against this one that it focuses on a privileged white family (led by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor) in Thailand on holiday. But that would be a mistake, because this true story is about as visceral, immersive, terrifying and heart-tugging as a movie can be. The tsunami and flood scenes are a marvel of epic filmmaking (the 3-D sound will make your teeth rattle), and the brave and vulnerable moments that occur as the family members struggle to stay alive and find one another are equally marvellous in their intimacy and humanity. Bring tissues.

Sept. 9, 7 p.m., and Sept. 10, 3 p.m., Princess of Wales.

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