A young couple meet by chance and fall in love in Baltasar Kormákur’s Adrift, a film that tells the incredible true story of Tami Oldham Ashcraft and Richard Sharp. But this is not just an ordinary love story. Oh no, indeed.
The film follows Tami (Shailene Woodley) and Richard (Sam Claflin), two free spirits and avid sailors. The pair become acquainted and begin to fall for each other. Tami and Richard are later approached by friends who propose to them the task of sailing their yacht from Tahiti to San Diego, of which they accept. The multi-thousand-mile journey is something Tami and Richard believe will be a great opportunity to do what they love and grow closer in their relationship.
However, what the star-crossed lovers could not foresee is cruising into the path of a hurricane. Or shall I say they could not foresee it being catastrophic. The storm devastates the yacht and ravages its captains’ lives. Being out in the middle of the sea with no chance of rescue, Tami must summon any strength and determination she has remamining to save herself and the only man she has loved.
Confession time: I did not have any knowledge of this story prior to viewing Adrift. That said, I thought the film did a nice job of depicting the impactful and suspenseful tale of Tami and Richard. I will say, however, that I was not much a fan of the almost constant back-and-forth between past and present. To elaborate, many films of this nature tend to start in the present or at whatever conflict plot point exists, then go back to the past for story development, and then walk it forward to its conclusion. I felt that Adrift did this to an extent, but there were several moments in which we were bounced to and fro between the time before the voyage and the storm’s aftermath.
In addition, the writing and script for the film lacked. There was just something missing from the dialogue as a whole. But what lacked in the dialogue was assuredly made up by Woodley and Claflin’s chemistry throughout the film’s 96 minute runtime. It was natural, unforced, and totally believable. Is it surprising? No, given both actors’ impeccable qualities and skill sets. But worth noting, nonetheless.
While not perfect, it was a well-done film that takes the viewers’ emotions for a ride from the onset and offers a look at the unrivaled power of the human spirit.
I Give It A: B-