The tragedy and drama of life at sea in Adrift

The opening scenes of the movie Adrift (2018) are riveting and sobering. The lead character, Tami Oldham, wakes up in the the flooded cabin of the sailboat she had set out across the ocean in with her lover. He was no where to be found. And she was alone.

Oldham would eventually spend 41 days lost at sea in a desperate gambit for survival.

I opened up my full review (published in 2018) with:

The intensity ratchets up somewhat late in the survival movie Adrift, a largely true account of 24-year-old Tami Oldham’s 41 harrowing days stranded at sea. The magnitude of Oldham’s (now Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s) accomplishment is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit when facing seemingly impossible odds. This story is told well in Adrift although the intensity of the film might challenge those who have actually experienced trauma in the outdoors or in isolation.

Source: Samuel R. Staley Adrift Testifies to the Strength of the Human Spirit

I stand by these comments. Adrift remains, in my opinion, one of the best contemporary movies on sailing and maritime adventure.

Author: SR Staley
SR Staley has one more than 11 literary awards for his fiction and nonfiction writing. He is on the full-time faculty of the College and Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University as well as a film critic and research fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. His award-winning Pirate of Panther Bay series ( has won awards in historical fiction, mainstream & literary fiction, young adult fiction, and reached the finals in women's fiction. His most recent book is "The Beatles and Economics: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Making of a Cultural Revolution" due out in April 2020 (Routledge).