Adrift: Film Review

Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin in Adrift (2018)

Maybe it’s me, but it feels like survival movies don’t make it that impactful watching the people trying to make the difficult situations when it most of the time you already know how it’s gonna end, especially when it takes place in the ocean. Adrift wanted to be a captivating romantic drama with two leads that need each other to survive.

What’s the Story?: Based on a true story in 1983, Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) are a couple who become stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after a hurricane swept them away. With little rations and limited way to reach civilization, Tami is determined to get to land and help a badly injured Richard to safety.

Adrift was one of those movies that I kind of forgot was coming out since I only watched the trailer one time and it’s kind of a smaller movie that’s released in the summer. Since then, I didn’t even know this was based on a real thing that happened over 30 years ago. Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns, Everest) and his writers don’t make this a wannabe Nicholas Sparks movie or anything that resembles a young adult novel, but Adrift was just alright in my mind.

Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin in Adrift (2018)

The main reason to basically see Adrift is for the performance that Woodley (also produced the film) gives here. I’m always impressed with what she’s given even though the film isn’t all that perfect all the way through, or even a bad movie, she’s always the one to give it all her best.

Aside from her performance, there is some excellent cinematography work from one of my favorites, Robert Richardson, capture the oceanline beautifully.

Woodley and Claflin’s chemistry was alright enough. There wasn’t any real moment where the sparks were all there. Which is sad because Woodley has always worked well with her male co-stars in the past. There was a little something at the beginning, but it doesn’t help when Claflin’s character can’t move after the hurricane.

Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin in Adrift (2018)

For a 96 minute film, it did start off at a perfectly fast-paced movie, and the third act happens, and it starts to get a little boring after that. That’s what you get when you have your story set in the ocean and nothing else but a damaged boat, two people, and the sea on their shoulders.

I personally didn’t like how the narrative was nonlinear when it starts with the aftermath of the hurricane and flashbacks to the growing relationship between Tami and Richard. Because of that, it makes the entirety of Adrift feel tensionless. And it’s ending, without spoiling, honestly took me out of the movie as it was unpredictable but kinda ridiculous.
Adrift may benefit from a fantastic performance from Shailene Woodley and its gorgeous cinematography, but it’s a survival tale that doesn’t us feel connected for its runtime.

Grade: C+

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