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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is about overcoming intense odds and heroically facing great challenges -- i.e., trying to survive when survival doesn't look likely.
Positive Role Models
Tami is a strong role model when it comes to surviving after the storm. She shows incredible courage and strength in the face of great stress and anguish. But before the storm, she's depicted as a drifter who doesn't really have a place to live and just goes where the wind takes her; she avoids contact with her family rather than talking to them. But she's still kind and an appealing character.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody, gory leg wound, which grows worse and turns gangrenous. Bloody, open head wound and streaming blood. Self-stitching of same head wound. Scenes of peril during the crashing storm. Arguing, stress.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Tami is shown naked, very nearly full-frontal (seen from a not-quite-clear angle). Her nipples are frequently visible through tank tops. Kissing. Brief sex talk.
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A use of "f--k," more than one use of "s--t," and uses of "hell," "damn," "oh my God," and "frickin'." A use of "Christ" (as an exclamation).
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Products & Purchases
Skippy peanut butter shown. SPAM shown and mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Tami smokes pot in a long, clear close-up. Some social drinking (wine and beer). Brief cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Adrift is a romance and survival-at-sea movie based on a true story. Expect to see some gory, icky wounds with streaming and/or clumping blood; a character stitching up their own head wound; a terrifying, boat-smashing storm; and arguing. Star Shailene Woodley appears essentially fully naked, but she's partly obscured by the camera angle. Her nipples are also sometimes seen through her tank tops. She and co-star Sam Claflin kiss, and sex is briefly discussed. Language includes a use of "f--k" and more than one use of "s--t." Woodley's character smokes pot in one scene, and there's social drinking (beer, wine) and brief cigar smoking. Though it's clear that a lot of effort went into making the movie feel intense, it can be grueling for viewers who aren't already fans of this genre or the stars. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Switching back and forth between a drippy romance before the storm and intense amounts of anguish and suffering after it, this based-on-a-true-story survival movie is overly reverent. Actors love movies like Adrift because they can use their most intense, high-velocity emotional ammunition; Oscar voters tend to love them, too, and awards frequently follow. Woodley, who also produced, first appears lithe and muscular, and then later, wasted and gaunt; she also uses makeup to make herself look sun-baked and destroyed. Her commitment is impressive, so it's too bad that her co-star, Claflin, is so lackluster and that the resulting movie is so glum and dispiriting.
Director Baltasar Kormakur fails to use the flashbacks or flash-forwards to find any resting ground for the story (which is set in the '80s); it thrums at a constant, wearying high pitch. The score's wailing string section doesn't help. Worse, the screenplay uses what could be easily described as a cheat, especially for a movie that wears its "true story" credentials on its sleeve (it ends with real-life footage). It feels as if it's so constrained with the effort of honoring the tale's real subjects -- whose actual story is indeed remarkable -- that it can't do anything but recycle the genre's clichés.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.