Tell Shailene Woodley that she’s Tami Oldham, and the actress is all in.
Director Baltasar Kormákur uses the great work from Woodley – and to some measure co-star Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp – to make you feel like you’re living every twist and turn with them.
Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell and David Branson Smith had much to work with to craft their screenplay. The tale comes from real life. And, oh, what it fairy tale it is when a plucky Woodley takes on the worldly ways of the 23-year-old Oldham, arriving in Tahiti ready to work her way toward any sort of seaside adventure she can discover with wide eyes, a big mind and much elbow grease.
Enter Sharp, a British chap a decade older than her and owner of a nice smile and nicer boat. Claflin plays him as polite, sure, but determined, too, to continue gain a partner in his vast sailing adventures and hopefully personal life, too.
They plan a grand sail on his vessel. But then comes an offer he can’t refuse to sail a couple’s boat to San Diego instead. That happens to be her hometown, not the destination of her first choice, but …
On the way toward the U.S., they encounter a huge storm, and Richard goes overboard.
Kormákur chooses to tell Adrift in a back-and-forth timeline, cutting from the couple’s happy times to the tough weeks afloat in the Pacific.
This allows Woodley to truly extend her range of abilities and the twists and turns of the story to very much sink in on the viewers’ minds, too.
The ocean is a beast, for sure.
The human spirit and mind sure can rear up, too.
Central New Yorkers can see Adrift free on Tuesday, Dec. 18, and Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Liverpool Public Library.