Fourteen-year-old Filipa vacations with her family on the beautiful island of Buzios. Told from her perspective, Adrift details her parents’ crumbling marriage and her own burgeoning sexuality.
While newcomer Laura Neiva is the focal point and does good work, Vincent Cassel’s is the most interesting character and he delivers a fine performance as the father. It’s understated, and complex. Mathias is the perfect father, adoring of his three children, warm, good-natured, obliging and indulgent. He understands and respects them completely. He’s also careless – most overtly demonstrated in a scene where the boat on which he’s taking his kids and their friends for a wild ride runs out of fuel because he forgot to buy some, leaving them quite literally adrift – and more crucially he’s unfaithful to them. However his character slowly develops from a put-upon husband – victim to a mildly vicious alcoholic wife – to a cheating husband, to an entirely different – and somewhat more sympathetic – creature as the plot unfolds.
Adrift is about the influence parents have on their children, good and bad. The children are well-raised, mature, decent kids. Not angels, but any parent would be immensely proud. Their father Cassel shines through each of them, and Filipa in particular. She is most definitely daddy’s girl, and just as his personality is reflected in her, his adulterous actions also influence her behaviour, at one point putting her in great danger. When she breaks into Angela’s (Camilla Belle) house she dresses up in her clothes in a telling moment. To her Angela is a purely sexual being, and – idolising her father and fascinated by watching him make love to her – she seeks to sexualise herself. She also mimics her mother in the barbs to which she subjects would-be-suitor Arthur.
Director Heitor Dhalia and cinematographer Ricardo Della Rosa have a keen eye, and make excellent use of the beautiful landscapes. The sumptuous photography is especially warm, and there’s something strangely comforting in the way it captures the sunlight on the characters’ skin. The effective score builds slowly throughout the film, and there is an impressive symmetry between sight and sound.
Overall it’s an intelligent, complex drama which bravely – and subtlety – defies expectations, avoids clichés, and most importantly entertains.
Extras: Forty minutes of pedestrian, staid, individual interviews with the three principals, director and producers. However Debora Bloch and Laura Neiva come across as completely different people which is a testament to the quality of their performances. Of significantly more interest is the B-roll footage, but there’s only a paltry three minutes of it. The twenty-five minute making-of documentary unfortunately repeats a lot of the interview footage but does provide insight into the production and is the highlight of the extra material on the disc. The behind-the-scenes footage demonstrates the cast’s chemistry and is charming, and all involved give the impression that the shoot was a lot of fun. The disc also includes a trailer.
Adrift is released on DVD February 7th.
Director: Heitor Dhalia
Writer: Heitor Dhalia
Stars:Vincent Cassel, Camilla Belle, Cauã Reymond
Runtime: 97 min