Two-and-a-half out of fourKAYLEE BREWSTER
While “Adrift” is a story of survival, the performances and script tell a touching tale about love amidst one of the worst hardships imaginable.
Tami (Shailene Woodley) is a spontaneous 24-year-old who travels the world without any plans. Then she meets Richard, (Sam Claflin) a sailor who travels the world without any plans. Naturally, they fall in love and make plans to sail around the world together.
However, their fun adventure becomes even more dangerous after a storm leaves their boat adrift at sea. With little food, and no radio, it is survive or die.
Oh, and did I mention this is a true story?
The first thing about “Adrift” that’s clear is the two leads are perfect. Woodley and Claflin have perfect chemistry together. You see as a loving couple who are concerned for each other, and as the cutesy couple laughing and teasing each other.
While Claflin gives, without question, a flawless performance, it’s Woodley who steers the film and makes it her movie. Woodley gives Tami life in every scene; whether its showing her frustration, hope or utter exhaustion, Woodley lays it all out for the audience.
The film also expertly tells Tami’s backstory by cutting back and forth from the days adrift, to the how she and Richard met and made their plans. It’s the perfect way to tell a story of someone stuck at sea, without boring audiences with countless scenes of someone sitting on a boat, baking in the sun. Audiences see and understand the hardships the characters face but then return to the telling of how they got there. It makes the story more engaging.
At around an hour and a half long, the film is also timed so that the plot doesn’t spend too much time focused on characters suffering at sea. If the film was 20 minutes longer, it would be 20 minutes too long.
Although “Adrift” is a survival story, it is first and foremost a love story, which makes it a step up from other survival-at-sea tales. If you are interested in survivalist stories that leave you feel inspired, you should let “Adrift” take you on a journey. If tales of love and survival make you yawn or cringe, best move on to a different journey.