Cynthia Erivo Strengthens A Depthless, Unengaging Refugee Drama


  • Drift falls quick in exploring the total breadth of Jacqueline’s determined scenario as a Liberian refugee in Greece.
  • The movie lacks perception into Jacqueline’s character and fails to completely develop its storyline.
  • The dynamic between Jacqueline and Callie is a power of the movie, showcasing Cynthia Erivo’s highly effective efficiency.



Jacqueline (Cynthia Erivo) wanders the seashores of Greece alone on daily basis in Anthony Chen’s Drift. Her eyes are distant, and there’s a deep ache swimming in them, however Jacqueline goes about her day within the hopes that she is going to at the very least be capable to purchase some meals and water to maintain her for the approaching days. There’s an immediacy to her quiet actions, however a way of hopelessness too, as she dodges prying cops asking for an acquaintance’s passport.

Drift is a 2023 drama film by director Anthony Chen that debuted on the Sundance Movie Pageant. Jacqueline, a Liberian refugee, escapes her house nation to a distant Greek Island, hoping for a greater life. The transition, as difficult as it’s, is smoothed over by a burgeoning friendship with an American tour information.


  • Cynthia Erivo offers emotional perception into her character
  • Erivo & Alia Shawkat elevate the script

  • Drift is not compelling
  • There are giant gaps within the storytelling
  • There may be basic lack of depth
  • The story meanders and is not participating

Drift’s Harrowing Storyline Falls Brief

Alia Shawkat and Cynthia Erivo ride a bike in Drift

It’s on this very determined scenario that we enter Jacqueline’s world. And whereas Drift, written by Susanne Farrell and Alexander Maksik (the creator of the novel it’s based mostly on), boasts a beautiful, layered efficiency by Erivo, and has moments of tenderness shadowed by Jacqueline’s misery, the narrative lulls, falling in need of exploring the total breadth of the scenario past the floor. It’s at occasions quiet and contemplative as we watch Jacqueline transfer from one place to a different, conserving her head down day in and day trip with none assist, invisible however not.

Drift doesn’t rise to its potential as a result of it’s far too underdeveloped and empty. Jacqueline might have been one in every of a large number of displaced folks. Past a number of harrowing flashbacks — ones that give us a quick overview as to why she fled Liberia after visiting her household — the movie doesn’t give us a lot perception into who Jacqueline is as an individual or the small print of her scenario.

Chen isn’t the primary to discover the titular feeling of being adrift in a rustic that isn’t house, nor in a single that’s significantly type to refugees. The shifting movie Flee, Limbo, and The Swimmers are amongst a number of which have achieved it higher. There may be specificity in these movies, whereas it’s principally missing in Drift. The movie begins to flourish when Jacqueline meets Callie (Alia Shawkat), however there’s nonetheless a wall that refuses to go down.

There may be potential right here, however the characteristic doesn’t dig any deeper than it has to, leaving us drifting together with Jacqueline with out something to latch onto to maintain us afloat.

Maybe it’s as a result of Jacqueline has little or no dialogue, and Erivo should convey the number of feelings beneath the floor with solely her facial expressions and physique language. That’s not essentially a nasty factor, however it does mirror Drift’s tendency to maintain every thing inward, whereas it might have benefited from Jacqueline interacting extra with others. In any other case, it merely feels aimless.

Cynthia Erivo Makes The Most Of Her Portrayal

Cynthia Erivo and Alia Shawkat sit on rocks near the beach in Drift

To that finish, Erivo is left to dig out the emotional depth of her character when the dialogue and storytelling fails Jacqueline. And the actress does it so effectively, providing us a glimpse into how Jacqueline is coping when one thing so horrific has occurred to her household. The previous follows her round as she walks the streets of Greece, and her eyes are distant, her physique folded inward. She hasn’t had time to heal, however assembly Callie helps her start to do this.

Their dynamic is in the end a power of Drift. The movie doesn’t come to life till then, as if Jacqueline was looking for consolation and empathy, and knew that Callie might present some reduction that had beforehand been denied her. Interacting with Callie builds as much as a full outpouring of feeling, and the emotional dam has been damaged, speeding ahead with a ferocity that was beforehand held again.

It’s additionally in these moments that Erivo is ready to totally showcase the depth of Jacqueline’s feelings, and Shawkat, although in a extra restricted capability, properly captures Callie’s help and permits Jacqueline to easily be whereas realizing there isn’t a lot she will bodily do for her however let her really feel. Their performances alleviate Drift’s hole story, and Erivo particularly does rather a lot throughout the movie’s limitations. However the characteristic doesn’t dig any deeper than it has to, leaving us drifting together with Jacqueline with out something to latch onto to maintain us afloat.


is now taking part in in New York theaters, and can increase nationwide on February 23.

Drift (2023)

Anthony Chen

Cynthia Erivo , Alia Shawkat , Ibrahima Ba , Honor Swinton Byrne , Zainab Jah , Suzy Bemba , Vincent Vermignon

93 Minutes

Susanne Farrell , Alexander Maksik

Sunac Tradition , Purpose Media , Hope Avenue , Paradise Metropolis , Heretic , Fortyninesixty Movies , ERT SA

United Expertise Company

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