Adrift at the Cinema

adrift reviewADRIFT is based on the inspiring true story of two free spirits whose chance encounter leads them first to love, and then to the adventure of a lifetime on a journey across the ocean from Tahiti to San Diego.

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Everest)

Written by Aaron and Jordan Kandell and David Branson Smith

Based upon the book by Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s “Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea”

Starring Shailene Woodley (The Fault in our Stars, Divergent series), Sam Claflin (Hunger Games – Catching Fire, Mocking Jay Part 1 & 2)

In theatres NOW

So, what’s it about?

Love and adventure. That’s life summed up in two words. First we meet and fall in-love in the romantic pacific paradise of Tahiti. We dance, we dine, we drink, we joke about, we lay on unbelievably beautiful beaches and sail along stunning shores, all those things we do, or hope to do, as we fall in-love with the person the universe introduces us to. Then we jump aboard an epic adventure, across an epic ocean, with epic magenta-ry wine and orangey popsicle sunsets. It’s just the two of them, and us. It’s what dreams are made of!

But what Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) didn’t know, and couldn’t anticipate, was that they would be 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 their 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.

Adrift movie review

So, what did we think?

A few tears may be shed as you join this young couple on the adventure of a lifetime. Adapted from the book “Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea.” The title plays on the sailors (and our mums) saying, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning”. A true story of Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s 41-day journey from shipwreck to safety. Described as an unforgettable story about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love, the film unfolds to reveal just that.

We’re introduced to Claflin in a role quite different from the Finnick in The Hunger Games most of us know him as. Here he portrays the cool headed, very handsome, gentle man of the world Richard who meets his shipmate in life Tami played by Woodley, and we begin the adventure, their adventure.

Now, there’s nothing more annoying to me than a strong female lead as seen through the eyes of a man, inevitably something doesn’t quite add up, something doesn’t quite link the two words “strong” and “female” together. But the director Kormákur consistently consulted with Shailene along the way (also a producer of the film) ensuring that the one perspective that could truly relate to the story of a strong female was sought. That thankfully shows and Woodley doesn’t disappoint in her portrayal of strong female characters, like Tami, and Tris from the Divergent series – these ladies are more than capable of getting the job done! At the same time, human, right? Woodley and Claflin hold this story in their hands well and tell it truthfully.

Another “nothing more annoying than” thing is when a sea adventure seems to be filmed in a big splashy pool with obviously digital enhancement. Luckily here they filmed on location in Fiji, out in the open water, and that effort is so worthwhile, it certainly stirs up a sense of truth for the true story. And some random “fyi” – some studio filming was done in New Zealand too, so there’s a familiar face on screen as Elizabeth Hawthorne plays a small role, and a couple of accents can be easily picked out as slightly Kiwi!

Overall it’s a well filmed, well played story about that strange balance in life of courage and fear, determination and doubt, and love and loss, but with that profound hint that love transcends it all.

Written by Ronnie Swainston



  1. Amanda Carr July 16, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    I really like true stories so this is definitely one I’m really interested in seeing. The trailer looks so scary I couldn’t imagine going through what they went through and would love to see the outcome for them out in the ocean.

  2. Vikki Sainsbury July 16, 2018 at 11:29 am

    No would not go and see this to be honest – not my cup of tea at all 🙂 Don’t know why but movies like this annoy me haha

  3. Kym Moore July 10, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    I have seen the trailer for this one and I’m interested in seeing it. But I might wait til after I go on my next holiday (on a boat…). I think this would stir some anxiety for me. The storm scenes were so gritty and real! And the panick on Tami’s character. It was very gripping even in the few minutes I saw.

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