The Raft

2019

The Raft

Critics Consensus

The Raft blends archival footage with retrospective interviews to contextualize an incredible real-life experiment whose lessons remain acutely relevant.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 35

80%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 25
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Movie Info

In the summer of 1973, five men and six women embarked on a 101-day scientific sea-adventure, drafting on a small raft named "Acali" across the Atlantic. In a experiment initiated by Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés, the group set out to explore the origins of violence and the dynamics of sexual attraction. The eleven members of the crew were handpicked from around the world with the aim of mixing religion, gender and nationality to maximize friction on board. Genovés called the expedition a 'Peace Project' but it did not take long for the international press to rename it 'The Sex Raft', a nickname which still upsets some members of the crew. As leader of the experiment, Genovés had hoped to be able to report on his human guinea pigs, telling tales of orgies and violent conflicts, but it seems that the outcome was very different. Instead go fighting or having sex, the group slowly turned against him. Mutiny was discussed and at one point there was even a plan to kill him. Today, more than forty years later, the surviving members of 'The Acali Expedition' reunite in a film studio in Stockholm, board a reconstruction of the raft and tell the hidden story behind what has been described as 'one of the strangest group experiments of all time.'

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Critic Reviews for The Raft

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (4)

  • [A]n enlightening documentary that shows how one man was driven mad by his quest for answers to the mysteries of human behavior.

    Sep 20, 2019 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Blinded by his ego, acting like the captain of the Bounty, Genoves apparently never realized the experiment was valuable and was yielding interesting if surprising results.

    Jun 28, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A document, as well as a documentary, of genuine consequence. The news is surprising, and pretty darned good.

    Jun 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Favored with copious amounts of footage shot during the voyage, as well as Genovés' collected data and writings, Lindeen forged a riveting and illuminating study of the unscrupulous endeavor.

    Jun 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • You wonder why The Raft hasn't been turned into a drama yet, since it's got everything: a high-concept premise, big ideas, conflict, base urges, twists, action, and a diverse cast in which looking good with little on is historically accurate.

    Jun 13, 2019 | Full Review…

    Robert Abele

    TheWrap
    Top Critic
  • This is such a uniquely bizarre story that it can't help but exert a certain fascination. But it's hard to avoid the feeling that it would have been better served by a compelling dramatization rather than this too-dry documentary.

    Jun 7, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Raft

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