Disaster films are, generally, more about special effects than they are about story, but The Impossible manages to side step that pitfall, and create a story driven tear jerker, with amazing effects to boot. Naomi Watts (in what is probably the best performance of her career) and Ewan McGregor are parents who bring their three sons one a trip to Thailand for the Christmas holidays. While there, One of the largest tsunami's on record hits the coast, right where they're staying. The rest of the film is the aftermath of this event, but I don't really want to go into it, because I don't want to spoil anything.
The film was made by a Spanish production company, which explains why it's a good film. Hollywood would have jacked the budget up, cut anything remotely resembling story or good dialog out of the script, and tried to sell it as a summer blockbuster. This film was perfectly executed and needed to be released just the way it was. The acting and directing are amazing, and the cinematography, while often times the result of having to work around the effects, is still gorgeous.
This is one of the best films of the year. It will stick with you for a long time, afterwards, and I LOVE films like that. I highly recommend it, and if you get the chance, see it in a theater. It really is something amazing.