Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has been 29 years old for more than seventy years. After an accident in turn-of-the century San Francisco, her body loses the ability to change, and Adaline is stuck in time as everyone around her including her daughter Flemming (Ellen Burstyn) ages. To conceal her condition and to protect the people around her, Adaline moves every ten years and creates a fake identity. But in the present day, she meets math wizard and philanthropist Ellis (Michiel Huisman), and she suddenly starts asking herself why she keeps running away from the lives she could have.
The main strength of the movie is its unwavering focus on unraveling the romance between Adaline and Ellis. All the details about the lives of the other characters are treated mainly like distractions, which the movie discusses very briefly but then eventually abandons to return to the main storyline. The end result is an extremely orderly, straightforward, and simple romance that offers no main conflicts except the personal issues of the individual characters – and on the whole, it’s only Adaline’s commitment anxiety that keeps the drama burning. Nevertheless, the movie doesn’t feel empty, not even without the layers and dimensions that modern romance movies insist on like family intrigue, political turmoil, etc. At its core, ‘The Age of Adaline’ is aware of the plot that it wants to execute, and it never veers away from that, making this movie an easy watch.
This is a very simple romance film, and as such, the acting required for it is not very demanding. The cast all deliver, but their dynamic is unremarkable. Michiel Huisman and Blake Lively don’t look bad together though – it’s not simply a matter of two gorgeous people pairing up; it’s an actual believable friendship/romance. It was a bit strange to see Ellen Burstyn acting as Blake Lively’s daughter, but I suppose that’s a given, what with the whole point of the film being that Adaline does not age.
Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford, and that’s why he’s still dashing even with all that white hair. He plays his role well – that of Ellis’ father, who happened to meet Adaline in London in the 60s – and his speech near the end of the movie is heartwarming. Props to Anthony Ingruber as well for being such an adorable scene-stealer. May we see you in future movies, for the sake of legions of fangirls waiting for their hearts to be baited.
Costume and Production Design
For the costumes alone, this movie is worth watching. Definitely watch it if you’re into vintage clothes and furniture, because Blake Lively is gorgeous in all the clothes she wears for this movie. There are not very many films that are pretty enough to merit time and attention due to sheer visual appeal alone, but this movie is one of them. The color palette is amazing as well.
Watch it because it’s not a waste of time, and because despite its main pull being geared towards the heartstrings, it’s also very rational. It’s an intelligent movie in the sense that it does not insist on being treated as intelligent – the deep conversations on astronomy, math and the meaning of life are all padding for what’s at the core of this film: love and why it pushes otherwise rational human beings to abandon reason.
This blog gives ‘The Age of Adaline’ 4 out 5 stars because it is such a pretty movie. If you’re a sucker for romance, but are picky about the things you watch, you should definitely give this film a shot.
Title: The Age of Adaline.
Production: Lakeshore Entertainment, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, RatPac-Dune Entertainment.
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn.
Screenplay: J. Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz.
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger.
Photo (c) The Atlantic.
Video (c) Lionsgate Movies @ YouTube.