“I can’t do this.”- Tami Oldham
“You can do anything you put your mind to.” Richard Sharpe
Adrift is the unbelievable true story of Tami and Richard, a couple who set sail from Tahiti to San Diego when their sail boat was nearly destroyed in a Category 5 hurricane and left them stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was left up to Tami to navigate and steer their boat as it drifted to the Hawaiian Islands. The question in the film stands: will they make it in time or parish in the process?
At an hour and thirty-six minute run time, the movie will leave audience members at the edge of their seats wondering if the next moment will be the couple’s last. In the second trailer for the film, Richard and Tami both leave wanting the adventure and the thrill that goes into sailing around the world, and the movie doesn’t disappoint. Edited seamlessly together, the viewer joins in on an adventure not knowing who will survive until the end, but like the film reveals, it is the reason for sailing.
Richard says sailing is “Miserable, You’re either sun burnt, sleep deprived, or seasick and after awhile there’s hallucinations,” all of which is experienced in this hour and a half journey as we see the love between a man and a woman tried and tested in this epic journey. However, as Richard tells Tami that is the reason for doing it, the directors portrays this feeling in the telling of the story.
Tami is played by Shailene Woodley in what is the most dramatic role of her career. Woodley does an exceptional job as a woman who is a drifter herself in the beginning. She arrives to Tahiti only five months prior to meeting Richard and voyaging to California, and yet she goes through the most growth as we see her challenged with trying to save not only herself but also the love of her life.
There are elements in this movie similar to Divergent, where again she is just trying to survive in the midst of being different and not fitting in, but Woodley takes the passion from that film and elevates it to include learning how to survive when all hope should be lost. The other element that is elevated is the romance, where we see in a short time how love is powerful enough to be a tool for survival; it drives Tami to do unexpected things, even leaving with a stranger that she’s only known for a few short months.
Richard, played by Sam Claflin from Me Before You, is also worth mentioning. Looking back on his previous work as a young man who is paralyzed, it is refreshing to see Claflin in an even more involved role, one that helps guide Woodley to safety again. He portrays the same passion as he has in the past but he does it in such a way that audiences will wonder after, did that really just happen? It’s a question at the end that the audience is left walking out with, but in a good way.
It’s about the journey and Adrift certainly takes us there, not only on the seas, but also through the lives of our drifted lovers as it holds our attention from the first minute when Tami wakes up to water in the boat, up to the moment when Richard surprises Tami in every way one can imagine being surprised. Following in the shadows of the real life Tami and Richard, one could definitely see why the casting director chose Woodley and Claflin. There are emotions from both of them that definitely mirror the real life lovers. The actors did their research into the history in order to put on a star stunning performance that both Tami and Richard would be proud of.
The director payed close attention to the details by seamlessly splicing together the wreckage of the sailboat with scenes where Woodley and Claflin meet, so that we as the audience see just how deep and life affirming their love is from the first moment on. By choosing this type of editing, it allows the suspense of the wreckage and panic that Woodley clearly experienced as a subsidiary to that of the emotions that went through both her and Claflin in the first encounters in Tahiti.
Verdict: 5 out 5
STX Entertainment’s Adrift is an action packed movie that combines elements of Castaway with The Notebook in a way that no movie has every done before. It’s sort of like Tom Hanks’ obsession with Walter the volleyball, but the director uses the love between a man and a woman in an effort to save at least one from the treacherous open seas. The bigger question is, do they succeed? You’ll have to see the movie to know the answer.