From STX Films and director Baltasar Kormákur, comes Adrift starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin. Tami (Woodley) is a carefree spirit who spends her time traveling around the world and taking odd jobs to survive. In Tahiti, Tami meets an experienced British sailor, Richard (Claflin). Instantly falling in love, they decide to travel the world together. They are hired by a retired couple to sail their yacht to San Diego. Knowing this will finance their dream, Richard and Tami accept the couple’s offer, unaware of the pending disaster they will face by sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. In the aftermath of the storm, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and the boat in ruins. With no hope for rescue, Tami must find the strength and determination to save herself and the only man she has ever loved.
Woodley has been one of my favorite young actresses for a while. Once again, she does an excellent job. There are moments in the film which focus solely on Tami and her will to survive. Woodley is more than up to the task. In lesser hands, the role of Tami may not have worked as well. Sam Claflin does commendable work as Richard. He can pull off smug, yet caring. From the moment Richard’s love story begins with Tami, I had a smile on my face. From his initial pursuit of Tami to his motivation for her to survive, Claflin Richard is the perfect match for Woodley’s Tami.
Baltasar Kormákur’s direction in Adrift is compelling. His decision to shift the story back and forth between the couple’s happy time and their tragic time at sea works very well. I was able to identify with Tami because we’ve all been in bad situations, where our mind may drift back to happier times. Kormákur’s choice allows us to connect with both of our leads and genuinely root for their survival. Had Kormákur used a more traditional narrative, I don’t think Adrift would have had the same emotional effect that it did.
There wasn’t too much I didn’t like about Adrift outside of the musical score. While the score is decent, the use of music was a bit on the predictable side. This choice may or may not have been intentional. There were moments, due to some of the musical cues, I knew what to expect. Had the decision been made not to use any music during the scenes, the final effect may have come across stronger.
Nevertheless, I’d still recommend Adrift. The skillful direction by Kormákur and a winning performance by Woodley helps the film rise above just a love story or disaster flick. When the credits rolled, the tears shed by me were genuinely earned. Adrift may not be the ideal summer blockbuster, but it is a movie worth seeing.
Final Grade: B+