Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) is a globe-trotting pilgrim with a yen for new adventures. She has left her birth family behind in San Diego and has settled down for a brief respite on the island of Tahiti. Tami is fortunate to find some work repairing boats. The year is 1983.

On the docks, she meets Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), a handsome, philosophical, and sensitive man from England who has built his own boat and loves sailing as much as she does. It doesn't take long for them to fall in love and make plans for the future. A wealthy English couple offers Richard $10,000 to sail their luxurious boat from Tahiti to San Diego. They happily take the job and begin their first adventure together at sea.

Adrift is directed by Baltasar Kormakur based on Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham. Tami and Richard expect their Pacific journey to take four months, but they sail right into a hurricane. Richard is thrown overboard and the boat is nearly destroyed. Tami not only rescues him and nurses his injuries, she makes the boat seaworthy again. Still, it will take all her knowledge, courage, and strength of soul to survive for 41 days adrift at sea.

The storm sequences are powerfully scary, and the story of their valiant efforts to survive are compelling.