Survival drama Adrift drags a little, but is still touching

City Press movie review

Movie: Adrift

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin

Up-and-coming actress Shailene Woodley, who you may know from Fault in Our Stars, Big Little Lies and the Divergent films, stars as a young woman adrift at sea with her partner in this survival film based on true events.

Before their ordeal, the couple lived a charmed life – hopelessly in love and sailing the seven seas on their boat. They’re then offered a lucrative business deal by a rich couple – to sail a 13.3m yacht from Tahiti to San Diego.

At first its all clear skies and calm seas, but then one of the worst hurricanes recorded damages the boat and sets them hundreds of kilometres off course.

With Richard seriously injured and no means of communication, it’s up to 23-year-old Tami to keep them alive.



The film uses the couple’s dire situation and splices it with images of how they met.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough. Halfway into the movie the tedium of their situation sets in. I found my concentration wandering. Sure their situation was harrowing, but there’s only so much running time you can fill with scenes of Tami fishing and tending to Richard’s gashed-open leg.

Luckily the pair’s bond is very touching and scenes of their early romance and reliance on each other during their ordeal is well filmed and never clichéd. I can only imagine how a young relationship must be tested when there’s a real chance you both might not survive.

Woodley is a consummate actress and this is an excellent showcase for her skills. Unfortunately, the film’s survival aspect is not as compelling as other films of the same nature. The 2013 All Is Lost with Robert Redford, for instance, is the better lost-at-sea film between the two.