Adrift

Out Now On-Demand

Shailene Woodley (Divergent) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You) are lovers caught in a hurricane at sea in this true story drama from Baltasar Kormákur (Everest).

As the two avid sailors set out on a trans-oceanic journey, Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) couldn't anticipate they would be sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in history. After the storm hits, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and their boat in ruins. With no hope for rescue, Tami must find the strength to save herself and the only man she has ever loved.

In Adrift, an incredible true story of survival at sea is made ordinary by lackluster direction. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, Adrift follows Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and her boyfriend Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) as they become stranded in a storm somewhere in the 6500 km stretch of Pacific Ocean between Tahiti and San Diego. Intercut with glib flashbacks to the couple’s courtship, Tami and a gravely injured Richard attempt to sail toward Hawaii in the remnants of their battered boat.

Shailene Woodley commits to her role as Tami, a bohemian young woman off to see the world, working odd jobs to make enough money to get her to the next stop. Complete with a puka shell necklace and sunkissed blonde highlights, she’s the embodiment of wanderlust; the girl who goes travelling on her gap year and never comes back. Watching a free spirit like Tami find herself in such dire circumstances is a convincing concept, an intrigue validated by Woodley’s fine depiction of harrowing exhaustion. Sam Claflin, on the other hand, gives a rather one-note performance, his sentimentality rarely convincing.

Sure, there are some decent moments. Both Tami and Richard are competent in the water; she’s a surfer, he’s a sailor; and the film serves as a reminder of the way disaster renders incompetent even the most experienced seafarer. On another occasion, days into the storm’s aftermath, Tami is delighted to find a tube of moisturiser and slathers it across Richard’s face, then her own; a small attempt at feeling human, despite the wreckage.

However, these moments don’t sustain the rest of the film. Expositional dialogue, a predictable second act twist, and an over-reliance on score for emotional resonance all contribute to the film’s chaotic tone. The true story behind the film proves a hindrance as fact is used as a crutch in place of beauty or depth. Contrary to Tami’s ever-present desire to travel somewhere new, Adrift is lacking in its exploration, and ultimately navigates the same path as too many survival films before it.

Los Angeles Times

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Woodley has a gift for conjoining inner strength and vulnerability until the two are all but indistinguishable.

Hollywood Reporter

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If the part of the film devoted to endurance lacks the harrowing power of, say, 2013's All Is Lost, it at least gives Woodley the opportunity to convincingly sink her teeth into a plum dramatic lead role...

New York Times

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The film is a notch below average.

Variety (USA)

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[Woodley] knows how to play an ordinary woman who's wild at heart, and she keeps you captivated, even when the film itself is watchable in a perfectly competent, touching, and standard way.

NPR

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What might have been a typical disaster movie about perfunctorily established characters heading into peril together...instead becomes a love story that keeps asserting and reinforcing itself as the film goes along. It's elegant in the cutting.

Associated Press

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Stop Googling and see the film first. You'll be glad you didn't know all the details beforehand.

Screen International

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Director Baltasar Kormakur makes good use of location filming on the open waters, giving this melodramatic tale a dose of realism, but "Adrift" is never as harrowing as the subject matter would suggest.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

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Proving adept at both action sequences and emotional trauma...

Not as good as expected

Was really keen to see this, and so went as soon as it came out. With promises that parts were filmed in NZ I was hoping to see glimpses of our shore lines or familiar landmarks, however there were none - except for the odd NZ actor and accent over the radio. Great performances by Shailene and Sam, and some good realistic stormy scenes. However I couldn't help thinking of 'Life of Pi' all throughout the movie and so predicted the ending. But, despite that - my best wishes go out to Tami and her heroic efforts to survive & for what she endured and for what she lost.