Imagine a life where you don’t age, living but never getting any older. You stay young and healthy, while those around you grow old and die. Decades pass, the world changes and yet on the outside, you remain the same. Is this a life you would want to live? Is it a gift, or is it a heavy burden to carry? The Age of Adaline is reviewed after the jump.
29-year old Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) is traveling alone to her parent’s home when the most extraordinary thing happens; it begins to snow. Being California, it isn’t exactly a common occurrence. The snow makes driving conditions treacherous, causing Adaline to lose control and crash. Instead of dying, Adaline emerges from the accident unscathed and somehow, quite magically, she never ages a single day from that moment onwards.
While having eternal youth may seem like a gift, it comes at a price. The only person who knows about her condition is her daughter Flemming (played by Cate Richardson and then Ellen Burstyn). Adaline changes her appearance, her identity and her home every decade, so that no one will notice that she does not age. She leaves friendships, walks away from jobs and flees from love. It is in many ways, a lonely life.
Adaline is preparing to shed her most recent identity, when she meets young philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman). Ellis is utterly smitten by Adaline (who goes by the name Jenny at this stage) and he convinces her to spend some time with him, despite her protesting she is moving soon. For the first time in decades Adaline allows herself to feel something for a man and she begins to contemplate what life would be like if she just stayed put. An unexpected encounter with a man from her past threatens her carefully constructed life and her dreams of a different future.
The idea of living as the same age through decades is an interesting one and I enjoyed how the film explored the positives and negatives of this. It was refreshing that the film was from a female perspective, and from such a strong, gusty woman at that. Adaline had brains, gumption and impeccable style. The costumes and hair and make-up is a strength of this film and I loved seeing Adaline’s changing looks throughout the ages. Blake Lively pulled off the different looks well; and while she looked different in each decade, she retained the mannerisms and way of speaking of a proper lady from the early 1900s.
When Adaline encounters William (Harrison Ford), she is forced to confront the fact she has a past for the very first time. William thinks he is going nuts – how else to you explain someone from your past reappearing 40+ years later, without having aged a day? I really liked Harrison Ford in this role – he was very vulnerable and wore his age well. The scenes between William and Adaline are quite beautiful. Michiel Huisman’s on the other hand are quite terrible and I didn’t feel an ounce of chemistry between Ellis and Adaline.
The Age of Adaline starts off in such a fantastical, absurd manner. The way Adaline becomes ageless is just so damn goofy – you really just have to roll with it. In fact, much of the film is simply quite goofy and the dialogue is at times, appalling. There’s a narrator (Hugh Ross) who pops up every now and again to do a ‘voice of god’ style explanation of what’s happening; most of which is utterly unbelievable and/or really silly. At one point the narration takes us into space and I just about lost it. Embrace the silliness and the romance of the premise, and this film is surprisingly entertaining.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writer(s): J. Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn
Runtime: 110 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: April 16 2015; USA: April 24 2015