The tragedy and drama of life at sea in Adrift

The full review of Adrift is remains on the Independent Institute blog The Beacon. While released in 2018, the movie still carries a poignant story and message for sailors and, like me, aspiring sailors. Mother nature is an awesome force. Even the most experienced and best sailors sometimes can’t avoid tragedy.

A masterclass in visual storytelling

The movie stands out for another reason as well. Few movies have done a better job of drawing audiences into the story without any real dialogue. The meticulous attention to detail in the storm-ravaged boat, top-notch acting by Shailene Woodley, and excellent direction by Baltasar Kormakur make this movie an excellent addition to the genre of maritime movies and adventures.

In fact, I’ve used the opening 3 minutes of the film in writing workshops. Writers often struggle with description. The first three minutes of this film are a masterclass in visual storytelling, minimalist dialogue, and riveting acting.

That said, those who have experienced the wrath of mother nature might find this movie too intense. Fair warning.

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).