Adrift Parent Guide
Sailing into trouble.
Parent Movie Review
A story with a protagonist stranded in the middle of the ocean has always been a tempting challenge for both directors and actors. Some, like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, are able to keep their head above water and the audience engaged, while even seasoned pros like Robert Redford in All Is Lost, metaphorically drowned in the attempt. Now relatively young Shailene Woodley jumps into the deep end in Adrift to see if she can swim with the sharks.
Her character, Tami, is a traveling hippie (a lifestyle Woodley reportedly embraces), who manages to snag occasional jobs while roaming the lonely planet. When she tells the customs guard in Tahiti that she has nowhere to live, no income and no plans, he stamps her passport and welcomes her to the country anyway. Soon after she’s cleaning schooners, has enough money to smoke a joint and meets Mr. Dreamboat, otherwise known as Richard (Sam Claflin).
The couple hits it off with pretty scenes of them jumping into turquoise lagoons, making out on the beach and exploring the world. Tami is the adventurer. Richard is “soft and sensitive, like a woman” (Tami’s words). The bulletin board on Richard’s boat begins to fill with Polaroids of the pair’s escapades. It’s about this time that Richard bumps into an older couple, friends he knows, who have had an unexpected change in plans and ask if he will sail their craft back to San Diego. The offer comes with enough cash to fuel the couple’s wanderlust dreams of sailing the world. Of course, we know a storm’s a brewin’.
Romantic sunsets and sailing lessons are soon replaced with massive waves and high winds (thanks to some very convincing special effects). Richard sends Tami inside the cabin just prior to hitting a huge swell. He is thrown from the ship, she is thrown about the living quarters and they both end up unconscious.
And that’s where this movie, surprisingly, begins. The film uses a non-linear story-telling method that, under the blade of Oscar-winning editor John Gilbert and director Baltasar Kormákur, holds our attention well. Cutting between the “good times” and the disaster helps keep Woodley’s performance from becoming too much of a protracted soliloquy. And, conversely, the shipwrecked scenes also punctuate the mishmash of romantic moments.
Although it includes far less potentially problematic scenes for teens than most PG-13 movies, there are still a few “highwater marks” in all our categories that parents should consider. First, the MPAA ratings used to consider marijuana use an R-rated element. This film adds to an expanding list that appears to indicate weed is no longer justification for the restricted rating. (We assume it’s due to increasingly lax laws in the US.) Woodley displays her breast assets in many scenes, usually under revealing clothing, but also after rain finally ends days of dehydration and she stretches out naked on the deck to take in the water. Finally, Richard’s wounds are seen in vivid detail as they become infected and gangrenous. Tami stiches a huge scar on her forehead as well.
For those not holding a Shailene Woodley fan club membership, you’ll likely come into this movie with low expectations and leave pleasantly surprised. Director Kormákur rightly decided to steer this ship toward harbor after about 90 minutes, preventing this project from going Adrift.Directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Starring Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Grace Palmer . Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release June 1, 2018. Updated June 4, 2018
Rating & Content Info
Why is Adrift rated PG-13? Adrift is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for injury images, peril, language, brief drug use, partial nudity and thematic elements.
Violence: A character’s serious injuries are depicted in detail, including a leg wound that becomes infected and gangrenous. A character stitches a cut on their forehead, which we also see in detail. A large storm in the midst of the ocean hits a small boat, leaving the two occupants unconscious and with serious injuries. Characters deal with an extreme survival situation that puts their lives in peril.
Sexual Content: A female character is frequently seen wearing tops that reveal details of her breasts. On one occasion she lies naked in a rainstorm – we briefly see her naked breasts. A male and female couple kiss, embrace and discuss having sex.
Profanity: A single sexual expletive along with a few other mild profanities are included.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character smokes a marijuana cigarette. Social drinking is depicted.
Page last updated June 4, 2018
More parents' guide for Adrift after the break...
Adrift Parents' Guide
Adrift is based on a true story documented in the book Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham Ashcraft, a woman who survived a 41 day journey similar to what is depicted in this movie.
What would you do if you were shipwrecked? Here are a few basic tips that could save your life.
Tami uses music, conversation and activities (fixing and cleaning the boat) to help her stay mentally alert and sane. How might these same techniques help you in other aspects of your life, even if you aren't shipwrecked?
News About "Adrift"
Learn more about the true story behind the movie Adrift.
From the Studio:
Starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin, Adrift 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. As the two avid sailors set out on a journey across the ocean, Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) couldn't anticipate 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 is the unforgettable story about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love.
Written by STXfilms