Adrift Review

Adrift - Theatrical Poster

Survival films isn’t a new concept in Hollywood. Audiences love it when human beings overcome the greatest of odds and come out as the victor. But what we don’t get a lot of is romantic survival films. In recent memory, The Mountain Between Us is probably the last film to have both a survival and romantic element to the film. But before that, it was Blue Lagoon. So a film like Adrift doesn’t come along very often.

Fortunately, Adrift succeeds where The Mountain Between Us did not. Adrift is a film where you’ll care about the characters’ survival and hope that their love continues on. Not to mention, the stakes are so high that you have no idea whether or not they actually survive.

Adrift follows Tami Oldham, a free-spirit who visits Tahiti as a gateway to her next destination. While there, she meets Richard Sharp, a British sailor who’s a wanderer in his own right. As the love between the two blossom, they get an opportunity to sail to California. Unfortunately, the two encounter a storm that leaves them shipwrecked and thousands of miles from land. They must now find a way to get their ship to land or die at sea.

Adrift - Sam Claflin and Shailene Woodley

Adrift isn’t an unpredictable film by any stretch of the imagination. What you see in the trailers, one sheet, or the synopsis above is basically what you should expect from the film. But the real-life story of Tami and Richard is an adorable and tragic tale. The survival element will keep your attention throughout the film. The romantic story is sweet but is ineffective due to the way the film is edited.

Instead of telling the story in a traditional and chronological way, Kormákur intertwines the romantic story with the tragic story. At times, the editing makes sense with the way the scenes connect. However, the editing goes at a frenetic pace as the film progresses. These moments will take you out of the film because of its jarring cuts.

Not to mention, there is a huge contrast to how the past and present scenes pan out. In other words, the past scenes gain steam while the present scenes lose steam. After a while, the tragic scenes simply devolve into Shailene Woodley just staring off into the distance. In contrast, the romantic scenes evolve to the moment where they shipwreck. The anticipation for this moment is what re-grabs your attention when it gets dull near the end.

In addition, the romantic story moves at such a rapid pace too. There doesn’t seem to be any development to Tami and Richard’s relationship. It goes from them meeting to becoming a couple in such a short amount of time. This is just another one of the downfalls to the editing of the film. The tragic scenes don’t take up much time and the romantic scenes need to keep pace with it.

Adrift - Shailene Woodley

Nevertheless, the chemistry between Woodley and Sam Claflin is palpable. It doesn’t start off that way but this makes sense since it’s the beginning of the relationship. As the film progresses, it’s totally believable that these two are madly in love.

Unsurprisingly, Shailene Woodley is the heart and soul of this film. Although her hippie and hipster characteristics may off put some people, she does an incredible job playing the two sides of her character. Her physical and layered performance during the tragic scenes makes her sympathetic. This sympathy comes in handy when the scenes cut to the romantic story.

But Sam Claflin holds his own in the film too. His charm is infectious and it makes their relationship more believable. Any woman would fall for this guy. In contrast, when tragedy strikes, Claflin deteriorates his performance. As a result, the sympathy level rises even more for him.

Overall, Adrift is a solid romantic survival film. The film clearly has issues but it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s still an inspiring and sweet story. It’s a journey that you may enjoy… Just try not to make this journey out to sea.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1313 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.