Aquaphobe’s Nightmare (Adrift review)

Loosely telling the true story of Tami Oldham, a 23 year old who got lost at sea for 41 days, ‘Adrift’ presents a fairly well made film that is let down by romance clichés.

After deciding to leave home to travel the world, Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) meets Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) and falls in love. The film opens on the boat just after it has been wrecked by a storm. Using flashbacks and flash-forwards, the film then tracks the story of how they got in the mess and how they got out of it. I must say that the use of flashbacks was a good way to maintain the narrative, and ensure the more interesting parts of the film were more spread out across the film. Using flashbacks also helped hide a twist in the story (which I saw coming anyway but which was a surprise to the other people I was with).

The film features some beautiful cinematography by Robert Richardson (cinematographer for Platoon, Shutter Island and Tarantino’s latest four features) who makes the most of the vast expense of the sea, as well as the dramatic sky backdrop it has to offer. I was also a big fan of Shailene Woodley, whose performance was utterly believable, strong minded and inspiring.

Unfortunately, what could have been a fantastically dramatic and meaningful drama got too lost in the romance aspect of the story. The script was littered with romantic one liners which felt far too cliché and were detrimental to the final film. Having seen the full film, the romance and love is an important aspect, but the script could have been written far better than it actually was. Regarding the twist in the story, I respected the way it was done and felt it was a clever narrative choice. However, once the film showed its hand in then decided to explain it in great detailing, showing how the twist impacted the narrative in far more detail than was needed, and this felt almost insulting to the intelligence of the audience, who could have worked out the consequences for themselves (I’m trying to critique the twist without revealing it, so as not to ruin the story).

Overall it was a well-made romance film. It featured some beautiful cinematography and a fantastic performance from Woodley. Unfortunately, it was let down by too many romance film tropes and by the end felt too cliché to get fully invested into.

6 Stars

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