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À Deriva
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Reviews & Ratings for
Adrift More at IMDbPro »À Deriva (original title)

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Father-beautiful daughter relations in bohemian Brazil

Author: incitatus-org from Paris
13 October 2009

The Sao Paulo writer Mathias (Vincent Cassel) and his wife Clarice (Débora Bloch) are at their beach house in the coastal town of Buzios for the summer. They spend their days living a bohemian life with their friends, their three children and the rest of the young rat-pack from the beach. Their beautiful eldest daughter Filipa (Laura Neiva) is coming of age, although sitting on her fathers lap she is slowly but surely discovering her femininity. However the spring time of her youth sees not only the pitfalls of young love, but also a growing rift between her parents, and the threat of a disintegrating home.

A Deriva is a pleasure to watch, despite a simple storyline. It hinges on the relationship between Mathias and his daughter Filipa, as the film's warm focal point of the fragmenting family. Their roles are well worked out in these trying times. Mathias, and his wife Clarise, wisely protect their children from exposure of their marital rifts, but naturally the children - and specifically the eldest- feel the overshadowing conjugal burst.

What is perhaps the most remarkable, is how the same story filmed through the eyes of another culture, would have been so different. There are two elements at play here: a romanticized Brazil and the time frame. By placing the story in Brazil, we are taken into a joyful carefree Latin world of beaches, beautiful people, love and dance. By placing the story in the 1980s, were see a reality as if it was recalled by a much older Filipa looking back. It is a reality without a technology-inspired stress and superficiality, with a seeming authenticity of life orientated around physical people, living in homes filled with curiosity relics, without made-in-China goods and television-mimicking sentiments. It is a vision which justifies a perhaps kinder look at reality.

For everyone who is wondering how French top actor Vincent Cassel found himself in a small Brazilian production – Cassel is a frequent visitor of Bahia, the African-influenced state in the tropical north. He speaks Portuguese fluently, but as all attentive viewers will notice, it is not his (slightly off) accent which puts him in a curious position in the film – his role does not get lines as credible as those which the other characters get. Mathias' character, and hence the film, is saved by Cassel's acting talent. But then the movie was destined to float or sink on Cassel and Laura Neiva's capacity to convey the sensual lightness of living anyway. And that, they pull of masterfully.

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20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Lost in Coming of Age

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
5 December 2009

In the 80's, the fourteen year-old Filipa (Laura Neiva) is spending vacations in Búzios with her father, the French writer Mathias (Vincent Cassel), her alcoholic mother Clarice (Débora Bloch) and her two younger siblings in their beach house. When Filipa feels that the relationship of her parents is deteriorating, she snoops in her father's office and finds pictures of Mathias with his American lover Ângela (Camilla Belle) hidden in a drawer of his desk. When Mathias and Clarice announce to their children that they are not going to live together for a period, the confused Filipa believes that Ângela is the responsible for the separation of her parents and discovers that the marriage of Mathias and Clarice is built of lies.

"À Deriva" is the story of Filipa, who is very close to her father in an evident Oedipus Complex, in a moment when her family is falling apart and she feels completely lost in coming of age. The story is very realistic and well acted, and it is impressive how Vincent Cassel, who loves Brazil, speaks a fluent Portuguese. The participation of Camilla Belle, who also speaks a fluent Portuguese, is limited to a few scenes and lines. Unfortunately the subplots are silly and the running time of 97 minutes is excessive for the short drama. Further, the beautiful music score is too repetitive and boring in the end and sometimes so loud that is hard to understand the dialogs. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "À Deriva" ("Adrift")

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Capturing a mood

Author: lennox525 from United States
31 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A Deriva attempts to do something which very few films can pull off: capture a mood. But this film is able to meet the challenge thanks to the brilliant directing of Heitor Dhalia, Della Rosa's stunning photography and the wonderful acting, particularly of Debora Bloch and newcomer Laura Neiva (social networks are proving to be the casting agency of the future). The story revolves around a family at their beach house in the Brazilian resort town of Buzios. The plot of the film is not especially unique, it treats many classic issues that are all too common such as infidelity, children in the face of parental discord and coming of age. The film is seen through the eyes of teenager Felipa as she begins to learn about flirtation, the power of her femininity, her parents' marital tension and her father's trysts with a neighbor. Do not expect the originality that emerged from Dhalia's previous film, O Cheiro do Ralo. In fact, A Deriva demonstrates that part of Dhalia's genius is his versatility and ability to tackle very different genres with equal ability. This film does not contain the offbeat plot, quirky characters and dark humor of the director's earlier work. Instead it really puts you in the characters' minds and allows you to understand their emotions. To describe it would not do it justice, but it truly manages to recreate the vulnerability and curiosity of youth, the conflict between family love and amorous love, and the anguish of being unable to capture a perfection which sometimes seems so near. This film succeeds by combining breathtaking visuals with an attention to subtle details that appear as if they were improvised but were certainly planned as they are so essential to the film's ability to convey its theme. For instance, when a boy expresses his admiration for Felipa's beauty she makes a face of disgust which is followed by a brief smile that appears to emerge unintentionally. Or following a make-out session a teenage boy waits a few seconds before standing up, surely to conceal his excitement below. Since this film is more about mood than plot, it can be viewed many times and always reveal something different as the viewer continues to get acquainted with the characters.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Summer of Love, Awakening

Author: gradyharp from United States
30 May 2011

ADRIFT (À Deriva) is a reflection of the eponymous certain summer every young teenager experiences. By setting this story of discovery - of parental flaws and infidelities as well as the coming into flower sexually - in the 1980s, before cellphones and emotional isolation crept into our lives, and by placing it in the idyllic setting of the exotic Brazilian seaside, writer/director Heitor Dhalia avoids the gimmicks and interruptions upon which we all new rely and instead allows the story to unfold as a personal journey as seen form the eyes of a fourteen-year old youth. It is a quite miracle of a film.

Famous author Matthias (Vincent Cassel) has brought his family from São Paulo for a summer vacation: his beautiful, alcoholic, frustrated wife Clarice (Débora Bloch), his young son Antônio (Max Huzar), his middle daughter Fernanda (Izadora Armelin), and his fourteen- year-old daughter Filipa (Laura Neiva). The interaction with Matthias and his children is warm and sincere but there seems to be a stress between Matthias and Clarice. The children spend their days at the beach where Filipa begins to recognize the onset of her coming of age when young Artur (Daniel Passi) comes on to her. Filipa is anxious about the onset of femininity and wonders about the perceived friction between her parents. She discovers evidence of her father's affair with an American tourist Ângela (Camilla Belle) living at the beach and spies on the couple in their clandestine meetings. In response she pays more attention to Artur and to a handsome bartender (Cauã Reymond) whom she has discovered having an assignation with Ângela. When Matthias and Clarice finally confront their children about the real reason for the summer vacation from São Paulo and their intention to separate, Filipa realizes that her parents' marriage is a mutual sham and finds her own way of escaping the realities she has discovered: she is left adrift on the sea of Life and must find her own choices of how to face her femininity, her concepts of relationships, and fragility of fidelity.

In Heitor Dhalia sure hands this film is a tender pleasure to watch: making the focus of the story center on the relationship between Mathias and his daughter Filipa he allows us to understand the various aspects of the fragmenting family. None of this could happen were it not for the meticulously perfect performances by the entire cast - with special emphasis on Vincent Cassel and Laura Neiva and Débora Bloch. The cinematography by Ricardo Della Rosa sensitively uses the water supporting bodies as a visual metaphor, from above and from below the surface just as the film reveals the obvious and occult aspects of a failing marriage. The film is in Portuguese with English subtitles.

Grady Harp

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A realistic story about love and adolescence

Author: atlasmb from United States
20 September 2013

This is a coming of age story. Filipa is fourteen years old and dealing with the usual issues of a teen: sexuality, social acceptance, and self identity.

At the same time, her parents' relationship is crumbling under the weight of a real crisis.

All children confront the reality of their parents' imperfection at some point. Up till now, Filipa has seen her mother and (especially) her father through the eyes of an adoring child. She has to dispense with the childish viewpoint and confront reality, as she perceives it, just as the family's foundation is threatened. She feels her world crumbling around her as she realizes that she never really understood the real foundation of the family. In the end, she is adrift without any direction or understanding.

The resolution of this story is an imperfect one, with all involved parties grasping for the little pieces of happiness that can be salvaged. It is a realistic ending to a real-world story.

This story is about love, in all its forms--familial, romantic, platonic. It is love that sets them all adrift and love that provides whatever solace can be found.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

At sea

Author: jotix100 from New York
8 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Brazilian production was shown recently on a cable channel. It was a welcome surprise since many worthy films from that country do not arrive because of not having a local market. Written and directed with style by Heitor Dahlia. Set in the beautiful resort of Buzios, we are taken to meet what appears to be a happy family seen through the eyes of the eldest daughter. It is a dark comedy about the pains caused when the home unit falls apart in front of her eyes.

Filipa is a teen ager with two younger siblings. Their father, Mathias, is a well known writer that has taken a summer vacation with his family in order to finish his latest novel. The mother, Clarice, a beautiful woman, becomes a bit restless in their paradise home. One day Filipa, going through her father's locked drawer of his desk, discovers incriminating pictures of him with an American that is living in the vicinity. Filipa begins spying on them.

One night, at a dinner with some friends, Mathias is asked to describe the plot of the book he is working, and his explanation will help us understand the problem with his marriage. Mathias has been involved in small affairs that have come to nothing. Clarice, on the other hand, has fallen for a younger man. Filipa's world begins to collapse before her eyes. She is an unhappy girl that even with the group of friends she runs around with, feels out of place and miserable.

An older man, Lucas, sees Filipa and understands her vulnerability. Her sadness is clearly visible to an outsider who is a bit savvy about how to take advantage of the crisis Filipa is feeling. The departure of Clarice, an amiable separation, which both parents present to their three children, triggers a rebellion on Filipa who decides to go out with Lucas for a speed boat ride, an excuse for the old man to force Filipa to engage in sex with him. An almost tragic incident could have killed Filipa, who reacts on time endangering her, only to be reunited with her father that was frantic looking for her.

Heitor Dahlia gives his audience vivid characters at a time of crisis. The family that appears to lead an ideal life, is far from it. The atmosphere in which they move is conducive to the kind of promiscuity that leads to entanglements by the adults with fatal consequences on the children. One of the joys of watching the film is young Laura Neiva, an intense young woman who gives an amazing portrait of Filipa. Vincent Cassel, the French actor, makes an impression as Mathias. He seems to be at ease speaking Portuguese. Lovely Debora Bloch appears as Clarice. Camilla Belle, an American actress has a small role.

Technically, "A Deriva" is a film well crafted with the gorgeous cinematography by Ricardo Della Rosa, whose vision of Buzios blends effortlessly with the action. The musical score is by Antonio Pinto. We shall look forward to Mr. Dahlia's future work. He is a new talent that will surely do well in the future.

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3 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Toffee Crisp, attempt 2, v1.14

Author: annevejb from UK
3 May 2012

Adrift, aka A Deriva, as a story about a 15 year old facing what must have seemed an impossible situation, if the story was real life. The problem is faced well, sort of. It is an optimistic story. It is okay as a message story but okay too if one ignores the message and watches only for entertainment.

The Cake Eaters (2007) has elements that resemble this story and it is also optimistic, even though the main theme unfurls alongside the story of a butcher and a cow. It does not seem to be a story that can be either a message or entertainment, but it is.

I find this to be an interesting story that is worth trying to comment on, just my first attempt was deleted after a complaint to the administrator after it had been up for nine months. It did try to be an honest and reasonable comment and I really had not thought that it included any offensive stuff. What I did was include comment about my own reality in the days around me first watching A Deriva. Adrift is a fictional story and my own reality can feel very fictional too. Not that other IMDb browsers will have a personal reality that feels fictional. I consider this attempt at a comment to be weak compared to the first version, it misses out personal aspects.

Many of the characters in Adrift are attractive, scantily clad, early teens girls. That can be read as relating to this story being set on the Brazil coast, a holiday resort town, for the kids this is their summer holidays. If one wants to look for meaning and symbolism in the dress code then there is a mountain of plus and minus waiting to be found, but the simplest view is that this is just 'summer holidays' in the southern tropics. It might even be a tropical equivalent to winter.

The adults, be they parents or young adults, have a role that blends well with the story of the early teens. If one prefers, some of that can easily be the central aspect, instead. One can look to this story for a wide range of sub-stories and all have a relevance. I found how the parents deal with their kids to be central, for me.

I find the dead dog to be difficult to interpret re symbolic meaning, for me it is just a dead dog.


At September 2015 I have just re-watched it, straight after watching the ultra low budget 'Some Prefer Cake' of 1998, a story that loses more than most from the low budget constraints, particularly with the acting. That totally draws out the quality of this, this is so solid on so many different levels.

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