Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin take a bow in Baltasar Kormákur’s 'Adrift'


Adrift 1/2

Baltasar Kormákur—director of 2015’s Everest—does a bit better with his latest real-life tale of adventurers taking on the elements, thanks in no small part to the chemistry of the film’s two leads. But viewer, beware: A third-act twist nearly capsizes what starts out as an engaging story of survival set on the high seas. Based on Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s memoir, Adrift stars Shailene Woodley (also one of this movie’s producers) and Sam Claflin (co-star of The Hunger Games films) as Tami, a free spirited dockworker, and Richard Sharp, the world-traveling British sailor from whom she becomes inseparable. Setting sail from Tahiti toward Tami’s home port of San Diego, the two lovers have no way of anticipating that they’re headed directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. Using a structure that alternates between flashbacks of their budding romance and a post-accident present that finds Tami struggling to keep her badly injured boyfriend alive after pulling him from the sea, screenwriters David Branson Smith (Ingrid Goes West) and twins Aaron and Jordan Kandell (Disney’s Moana) focus on the couple’s past pleasures to help pull them—and the audience—through their harrowing situation. With very little food and little hope for rescue, Tami struggles to find the inner strength to save the man she hopes to spend the rest of her life with. It’s a pity the filmmakers didn’t trust the strength of the true story, relying on a late twist to add unnecessary drama. (At Assembly Row, Boston Common, Fenway, Seaport, South Bay and in the suburbs.)

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