Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin have to fight for survival after their boat encounters a hurricane
Following the disappointing decline of the Divergent films, Shailene Woodley returned to form with 2017 miniseries Big Little Lies, and with Adrift, she has reminded viewers of the acting ability she impressed us with in her breakthrough role in 2011's The Descendants.
Based on a true story, she plays Tami Oldham, who embarks on a sailing adventure from Tahiti to San Diego with her British boyfriend Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) in 1983.
On the way, they encounter Hurricane Raymond which leaves their boat in ruins and without communication, and the stranded duo must figure out how to survive and make it back to land.
The movie opens with Tami waking up after the storm to a damaged, waterlogged boat and not knowing where Richard is, until she sees him floating on the horizon.
He is severely injured so is unable to physically help, but he gives Tami moral support as she battles hunger, dehydration and delirium on the way to the nearest stop, Hawaii.
The survival drama is interspersed with flashbacks depicting how Tami and Richard met just five months before the trip, and this is where the film falls down.
The script for these scenes is incredibly cheesy, enough to make you cringe at times, and that's because director Baltasar Kormakur is trying hard to convince us that their whirlwind romance was the real deal, so what follows tugs on the heartstrings more.
The boat-based scenes are the strongest and are shot beautifully. It's where Woodley really gets to excel as Tami fights for her life with little assistance.
She goes from despair and feeling like giving up, to steely determination, and the audience is with her all the way, supporting her as she comes up with solutions to her ever-growing set of problems.
Claflin provides able support but doesn't get much opportunity to shine compared to his co-star. He is also unfortunately lumbered with the majority of the cheesy lines and romantic sentimentality so it was hard to take his character too seriously.
Despite only being 96 minutes, the film started to feel a little long as the constant back and forth between past and present drags it out.
Thankfully, there is a twist at the end that grabs the attention and really ramps up the emotional impact of the real-life story and builds to a moving climax.
The script needed a lot of work and some of the moments in the film felt quite familiar to other 'stranded at sea' movies, such as this year's The Mercy, but it is worth a watch for Woodley's captivating performance.
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