Synopsis – A young woman, born at the turn of the 20th century, is rendered ageless after an accident. After many solitary years, she meets a man who complicates the eternal life she has settled into.
My Take – The idea of being 29 years of age for the rest of your life seems pretty good right? While some might think that this would be ideal, others would consider this to be a horrifying experience. This film isn’t the first one to tackle the subject of immortality, nor will it be the last, but what it does is offer something a bit different to your typical movie about immortals. For one thing, no vampires here. For another, while most of these types of films are seen through the eyes of a male character, but here it’s a woman. Time and again we’ve heard from broody vampires and such how much of a “curse” immortality is, but here it’s applied to what is essentially a real life scenario – albeit with one slight supernatural element. I will admit it, a good romance is a joy to experience. Romances may not be my favorite genre, but they have their place in cinematic history. Frankly, going into this movie I didn’t even know what the film was about well except the immortality part. The story follows the life of Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively). Through a series of fantastic phenomena, she has remained as a 29 year old for eight decades. She has to experience a life of solitude and separation, because she cannot age with those that she is closest to in her life. Her life is veiled in secrecy, until she meets Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman), a philanthropist who ignites her passion for life and unknowingly he is a link to her past. What seems to be an innocent weekend away, becomes a crossroads for the truth and a chance for her to decide what she will do with the rest of her life. The best part about the film despite the sci fi elements, is that it is a good, straight forward, romantic journey. Even with the fantasy element of eternal youth, this was a good film for the romantic at heart. It can get a bit sappy, but it is a satisfying tale. Indie director Lee Toland Krieger (Celeste and Jesse Forever) is able to incorporate a level of geekiness to satisfy any male audience members without sacrificing the primary storyline.
His measured style develops a believability of this inventive story. Kreiger hearkens back to the beautiful romances of bygone eras, where subtlety and magnificent cinematography aid in delivering a beautiful romance. The film allows the audience to see the curse that this gift can be on anyone’s life. The movie’s main focus instead is about living life and pushing past your fears, especially ones addressing the concept of life. The film has some really depressing moments and left me feeling down in the dumps. Many of the problems she flees from may get in your head, but do provide some good food for thought and philosophical discussions. The movie’s main focus instead is about living life and pushing past your fears, especially ones addressing the concept of life. The film has some really depressing moments and left me feeling down in the dumps. Many of the problems she flees from may get in your head, but do provide some good food for thought and philosophical discussions. Possibly the only flaw which I could place my finger would be – our heroine doesn’t drink some mystical potion, or undergoes some futuristic operation, but is somehow mutated by a rogue lightning bolt striking the river. All of this is explained in the first 10 minutes, in a hasty montage that sums up her life, which while time efficient left me a little robbed. I didn’t want them to take forever, but a gradual build up of her life pre accident would have given this tale some more depth! It also helps that Blake Lively is an attractive woman and manages to not experience any disfiguring accidents in her one-hundred and seven years. Which could cause a level of disbelief in the story, but does not become a consideration. Her pain seems to come from being attractive to most men, but she cannot allow herself to respond to their advances and she is only is allowed to be close with her dog, Reggie. Thoughts move from eternal youth to eternal life. Her melancholic spirit is shown in her awareness of this life that she remains trapped in. There has to be more as death occurs all around her, but she seems to be eternally trapped. She maintains a mental strength to not seek death as the answer to her pain, but death does add to the shadow that envelops her life. If that is not enough, Adaline has to lie and say farewell to all who come into her life. Her life is a moral conundrum and explains why she seems to be a shell of a woman throughout much of the film, until she is eventually allowed to tell the truth and live the life she never thought she could live.
Portraying the central character is the gorgeous Blake Lively in her career’s best performance, who most would know mainly from Gossip Girl, but has actually been very good in a number of films which I feel she hasn’t gotten enough credit for. Dismissing her based on her role in the show (or Green Lantern) would be doing her quite the disservice, as she has shown that she is capable of much more than those two roles allowed her. Apart from having a classical look that allows her to fit the different eras her character lives through and makes her physically perfect for the role, she also conveys an old soul inside a body that’s forever youthful. The character of Adaline dresses, wears her hair and speaks like someone from a different time, but it’s Lively who makes this believable. She feels like someone who has become tired of running and having to give up the life she wants because of something she never asked for. In a wonderful and scene stealing performance, Harrison Ford gives his best and most inspired performance in years. For some, it may be strange seeing Ford not in his typical action-star tough guy. But, his acting in this film is nonetheless affecting, subtle, and impressive! Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones, Wild) does relatively well! On the whole, ‘The Age of Adeline’ may not be a groundbreaking film, but yet a refreshing break from CGI overload! The film is is a good drama that has a nice change of pace from the sea of mundane plots this genre has recently taken. A thoughtful film, exploring the best and worst moments in life and the relationships that give it meaning. Being in a special situation might not be the best deal. Also, there are more ways to die and kill yourself that facing physical death. It’s a fantasy that feels real because it relates to us, to our dreams, and the meaning of happiness. Give if a watch if you have a heart! Wow that felt so cheesy!
Director – Lee Toland Krieger
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 112 minutes