There are many images from Adrift around the house that stay with you, but nothing more than that of a ruined apartment building, floating in the middle of an ocean like a ship.
It’s an image that pretty much sums up the film as a whole: weird, surreal, flawed and, despite its flaws, memorably beautiful.
Don’t go into the movie expecting a simple narrative or a mystery with clear answers. But if you’re looking for a weird fantasy journey with some touching moments, it might just be the ticket.
A Lord of the Flies mystery at sea
Hiroyasu Ishida’s plot Adrift around the house it is both simple and complex. The story begins with a group of school-age children and the courage to visit an abandoned apartment building that is about to be demolished. Two of the children, Kosuke (Mutsumi Tamura) and Natsume (Asami Seto), have their own complex memories of the building, as Kosuke’s grandfather (who welcomed Natsume after his parents split) lived there.
Children visit the building and climb to the roof, only to break out an argument which leads to a sudden accident. But before the worst can happen, the kids find themselves somewhere else. They are still on the roof of the apartment building, only now they float in the middle of a vast ocean with no sign of their city.
The animation in Adrift around the house it’s nice
This world linked to the sea is where Adrift around the house it really shows up on its own. Kei Machida’s photography brings the ocean to life, alternating sweeping blue skies, blood-red sunsets and agitated gray storms, with the condo clinging to everything like a giant, dilapidated life raft.
Some of the individual shots will make you want to pause the movie just to stare at them for a bit. It’s a film full of poster opportunities.
The character design of Akihiro Nagae and Fumi Katô is also perfect, bringing the group of mismatched schoolchildren to life and evoking the roller coaster of emotions they went through as they try their best to survive in this strange new world.
A survival story.
The film has a touching theme
This idea of survival is one of the themes running through the film. Not only a physical survival, but also an emotional one. As we soon learn, Kosuke and Natsume are not only mourning their lost childhood in the now abandoned condominium, but also the grandfather who lived there, the same grandfather whose death they are still struggling to process.
Without giving too much away, Adrift around the house it’s a film full of ghosts. It’s a movie about coming to terms with your past and finding ways to overcome pain, no matter how difficult and complicated that pain may be.
It is not a perfect film. The story sometimes feels a bit verbose and some characters are less developed than others. But just for the cinematography and the heartwarming moments, it’s worth a look.
Adrift around the house is now available to stream on Netflix(opens in a new tab).