A few months back we had the dubious privilege of looking at the first trailer for Adrift, the Shailene Woodley/Sam Claflin-starring vehicle scheduled to be released in June by STXfilms. At the time, I was rather annoyed by what seemed like some pretty obvious (and egregious) revisionist history presented in the guise of a true story. Here’s the film’s synopsis, if you don’t already know:
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.
However, as we pointed out in March, this isn’t at all what happened to the real Tami and Richard. In reality, Richard Sharp was killed in the hurricane, his body swept away to sea and never found. Tami Oldham, meanwhile, was forced to survive for another 41 days aboard her damaged ship, navigating manually and surviving on rationed peanut butter, until she made it to Hawaii, 1,500 miles away. This is obviously leagues different from the synopsis and first trailer for the film, which presents Tami as discovering an injured Richard and then bringing him back home in an “unforgettable story about the transcendent power of live.” In effect, it reduces one woman’s real life harrowing, tragic experience into a Hollywood-sanitized, feel-good romance.
Or at least, that’s what we thought. There’s now a final trailer for Adrift out there, and this one is a bit different. Observe:
It’s hard to miss one of the things that both of the trailers share, which is Claflin saying the following, talking about sailing: ”... and after a few days, there’s the hallucinations.”
Oh god, no.
They’re not actually going to do that, right? They wouldn’t. It’s too stupid.
Oh god, they’re definitely doing that.
Richard was killed in the hurricane, wasn’t he? That’s why this final trailer has a whole lot less of Injured Richard in the boat, talking with Shailene Woodley. It’s also why more time passes in this trailer before she miraculously “finds” his body at sea. Adrift is going to be a film about a woman sailing for around 41 days as she descends into madness and imagines her phantom fiance there the entire time. And then, when she finally sees land on the horizon, she’ll excitedly turn to him and say “We’re saved!”, and he’ll slowly fade into the ether like Yoda while saying “you had the strength to survive within you all along. Fare thee well, my love. I go now to my resting place beneath the briny depths, where the pitiless mer-men have already crafted flutes from my bones.”
Well, probably not that last part. But think about the two possible ends of Adrift, and ask yourself why anyone would want to see this film. It’s either:
A. In defiance of the actual events, Shailene Woodley saves Sam Claflin’s life, and it’s a shmaltzy, feel-good piece of treacle.
B. The audience thinks that the former has happened, but Woodley is actually experiencing the world’s most accurate, continuous hallucination for 41 days straight before having it end, wherein we can only assume she would end up in a padded cell for the rest of her days.
So yeah! Enjoy Adrift, on June 1, folks! Either way, you win!