ADRIFT is a sea survival romance drama based on the true story of a couple caught in a devastating storm while sailing. With minimum food and water and relying on each other’s love to survive, ADRIFT is the story, told from Tami (Shailene Woodley), the girl’s point of view. Woodley shot to fame playing the daughter in Alexander Payne’s THE DESCENDANTS with George Clooney. Besides having the female lead role, Woodley also has credit as a producer.
An American and Englishman with his boat sailing around the world meet in Tahiti. Love at first sight, it appears to be after a date night. The two take on a task of delivering a yacht to San Diego.
The next scene is the disaster scene where Tami is below a flooded boat screaming and looking for Richard. It is evident that they have survived a storm that had devastated their boat and Richard must be somewhere overboard. She finds him and pulls him on board. But he has a big gaping leg wound and broken ribs. They spend 40 odd days ADRIFT. She learns a bit about sailing and the film stresses that it is her love for Richard that saves the two.
At the start of the movie, it is stressed that the film is based on a true story. This does not mean that what transpires on screen following is all true. What really happened is revealed at the end during the closing credits. As this is the major surprise of the film (though it can not be officially considered a plot twist), the fact will not be revealed in the review. But stay for the closing credits if you watch the film.
ADRIFT is a romance set in a disaster setting not a disaster movie in a romantic setting. This results in an awfully saccharine sweet setting, all too good to be believable less true. For a couple surviving for more than month with hardly any food and water, they only argue once. Thy are still lovey-dubbey all the way, she clinging on to him half the time despite his broken ribs. Cans of food and even alcohol pop up from hidden areas below the deck at regular intervals for the couple to survive. There is even enough beer for the couple, in Tami’s own words “to party.” Fortunately, the audience is spared from watching any drunken frolicking. There are no scenes involving both of them having to urinate or taking a number 2. At least the audience is spared from Woodley having perfect hair and make-up during the storm, as in the awful recent film KAYAK TO KLEMTU, where the lead always shows up with perfect make-up despite its wilderness setting.
The storm scenes with Tami and Richard scrambling around the boat look authentic enough. CGI effects are so advanced these days it is hard to tell when CGI effects are used or the real thing with real water and a blowing fan.
The couple’s chemistry helps the film’s story. Both are young, attractive and share the same goal – wanting independence.
One might hate ADRIFT for the Hollywood style romantic storytelling, but for those romantics who love this kind of thing ADRIFT will not disappoint.