“Adrift” is the story of two lovers who embark across the Pacific Ocean from Tahiti to San Diego in a small sailboat. The film is based on the true story that happened to Tami Oldham (played by Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) in 1983.
While on their voyage, they sail into Hurricane Raymond, which almost destroys their small yacht. With Richard injured, the two have to choose to navigate to Hawaii or California with little food and water, and without a main mast. The odds of them reaching Hawaii are slim because of its size compared to the rest of the Pacific. The time it would take to reach California might be too much.
The film has an interesting story because it’s non-linear. Bits of back story are sliced in while the couple struggle to survive on their heavily damaged sailboat. I found this more interesting and compelling than a conventional plot. It combined well a genuine love story (I say genuine because I sincerely cared for the characters) and a survival story. But it wasn’t seamless. The performances were both good, particularly Oldham’s character. She was strong and independent, which was refreshing to see. The production also impressed me, because it must have been tough filming a large portion of the film on water. Technically, it was a well made film.
The filmmakers did a good job of telling a cohesive story, but there were choppy parts (no pun intended). The beginning started off with a long take of Tami waking up after the storm had hit. We see the wreckage caused by the hurricane and the confusion and stress Tami is in. This shot is impressive, but reveals too much too quickly for the survival story.
When we jump back to the survival story after the opening love story scene, it seems like there is a bit of a lull because we just see more of Tami being confused and stressed. There are a few other moments like this that just pulled me out of the film, along with some unnecessary scenes.
When deciding on what grade to give a movie like this, I compare it to movies similar in genre and subject matter. For example, I wouldn’t compare it to a superhero film like “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I would, however, compare it to “Cast Away” or “The Notebook.” With those two movies in mind, “Adrift” deserves a B.
Running Time: 96 minutes