The Age of Adaline follows the titular character played by the knee weakening beauty Blake Lively after she’s been struck by lightning and had her ability to age switched off. It’s not so much that she lives for an ‘age’ of time as it’s only a century of looking 29; in fact that’s the same age that my grandmother used to quote that she was; she’d say, “I’m 29 and some months.”
It’s frustratingly patronising and over the top faux scientific premise, instead of just saying “magic” that tries to appropriate some of that ‘Benjamin Button‘ wonder. If you can endure the stretch you’ll be able to glean some wonderfully nostalgic and beautiful moments. We come upon Adaline at a time in her life when she’s ready to leave behind her life in San Francisco as contemporary life and technology makes it much harder to both disguise eternal youth and to commit fraud in ways that doesn’t attract the attention of government agencies. Her escape to anonymity is largely due to the prospect of being a government guinea pig. Director Lee Toland Krieger (the man behind the great Celeste and Jesse Forever) does his best work in the unfolding flashbacks as the tokens of her past, or parts of the beautiful San Francisco cityscape act as a little time machines (or Port Keys for you Harry Potter fans) to the other parts of life.
The arrival of a handsome and well off history buff Ellis Jones played by Michiel Huisman. Ellis has an obsession with the treasures of San Francisco’s past and inadvertently wins the heart of a living treasure of that past. Lively does some of her best work as Adaline and she’s able to tiptoe around her age and eventually surrender to the temptation of companionship after a life where she’s had to watch those around her embrace their mortality. Lively performance the Adaline with a grace of her character’s true age, but the raw emotion of someone confronted with the reality of outliving all that you love.
Writers J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz take an inordinate amount of time attempting to arrive at the destination of the central (melo)dramatic conceit, so despite the love letter to San Fran quality of the film and watching ridiculously good looking central pair, you feel like you’re treading water for about an hour and twenty minutes.
When you arrive at Ellis’ Family home and you’re introduced to his father William played by Harrison Ford, we realise that Adaline had actually known him in a past life. Ford is absolutely excellent here reeling in front of a great love lost and the despair of love lost and love in jeopardy is so well executed that any potential icky father/son shared partners stuff does not even register (except I thought about it because I’m a pervert).
The Age of Adaline is salvaged by the performances of Lively and Ford; that is if you’re brain hasn’t been shutdown by fake science.
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to legacy audio reviews on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
Written by: J. Mills Goodloe & Salvador Paskowitz (screenplay and story)
Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew