Led by a stellar performance from Shailene Woodley in Adrift, the power of love is what drives the battle for survival.
The single worst thing that can happen when one attempts to set sail across any body of water is something happening to their boat. For Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and her boyfriend, Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), their worst fears came true when Hurricane Raymond hit in 1983. Labeled as a Category 4 tropical depression at first, Raymond was upgraded to a full-fledged hurricane as the storm moved west. Traveling from Tahiti to San Diego, they altered the course to Hawaii in order to avoid Raymond but the battling the storm was inevitable.
We’re introduced to Tami as she wakes up to the aftermath of the storm to discover the boat is sinking. Richard is missing and nowhere to be found. It’s only then that the film opts to frame the film by way of flashbacks to how Tami and Richard met. Without these flashbacks, the film could be just as compelling but they serve as a way to better inform the story and why we should care about these two sailors. And yet there they are set adrift in the Pacific Ocean for 41 days. There’s a funny moment in the flashback where Tami tells Richard that she’s a vegetarian. The filmmakers wisely call it back later on when Tami has to kill a fish if they want to live.
Through the flashbacks, we learn that Peter (Jeffrey Thomas) and Christine (Elizabeth Hawthorne) hired the two of them to sail their ship to San Diego before flying to London. It would be a homecoming of sorts for Tami after making the decision to travel the world.
There are a handful of moments that display the power of love. One such moment comes late in the film for Tami after some thirty days at sea. It also serves as a callback to a conversation Tami had with Richard shortly after they met in Tahiti some five months before the Hazana capsized.
This film wouldn’t work without the on-screen chemistry of both Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin. The love story between Tami and Richard is the heart of this film. While Miles Teller originally was attached in the role, it’s hard to imagine an actor that isn’t Claflin starring across the Divergent star. Woodley is phenomenal in the film and her performance is certainly worthy of award attention.
While Adrift may scare people from sailing the ocean anytime soon, the film shows how powerful love is during dire situations.
DIRECTOR: Baltasar Kormákur
SCREENWRITERS: Aaron Kandell & Jordan Kandell and David Branson Smith
CAST: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin
STXfilms will open Adrift in theaters on June 1, 2018.