Age of Adaline is an intriguing film that combines romance, drama and fantasy. So does it work?
We meet Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), an unassuming 29 year old young librarian. Though soon we find out that through a freak accident in the 1930s, she has stopped aging for over eight decades. She is forced to live a lonely life of solitude in order to keep her secret and family safe. This all starts to unravel when she meets Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman), who she reluctantly falls in love with. Unknowingly, he also happens to be a link to her past and future.
This movie has certain elements of all those “tortured love” and “immortality” stories, which we have seen a lot over the years. However, Age of Adaline shows a different take on both topics, there are deeper layers to the story that get peeled away as the film continues, without being cheesy and unbelievable.
It also poses some philosophical questions for the viewer. In a world, where everyone wants to stay young by any means, it is refreshing to see a story based on the beauty of getting old, and the trials and tribulations of being young and beautiful forever. Scenes depicting Adaline’s daily life comes across very lonely and poignant, after all she finds it impossible to ever become close to someone out of fear. We get to see her daughter age to a point where she has to pass as her grandmother and Adaline planning her time with her before she dies. Moments like those aid in proving just how miserable eternal youth would be.
Director Lee Toland Kreiger, brings the mixture of fantasy, current and yesteryear romance, with believability and confidence. His style of subtlety, deep tones, and magnificent picturesque cinematography assist in delivering a wonderful story. Decade jumping in films can come across messy, thankfully Kreiger put his indie experiences to good use and managed to make the time jumping convincing without any diversion. The soundtrack and the magnificent wardrobe also immensely help in transporting the viewers back and forth.
In her first lead, Blake Lively portrays the stunning and melancholic Adaline with a level of sophistication and class. She stands her ground amongst such brilliant veteran actors as Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn and Kathy Baker. Lesser known, Michiel Huisman brings a gentle depth that is perfect for his character as Ellis.
The story comes a bit undone towards the last quarter of the film; parts of it seemed rushed and incomplete. How Ellis reacts to the news is never shown, instead the audience gets told that he knows without any drama. Some might say that is nitpicking, but majority of the drama in the story is based on Adaline running and hiding her true identity, it would have been nice to see a reveal that is grittier than what we got. There are also parts of the story line involving William Jones (Harrison Ford) and Adaline which some might view as slightly creepy.
Overall, Age of Adaline is a beautiful, not so typical romantic film that should appeal to both sexes. Even if the romance genre is not a favourite.
I rate it 7 out of 10 stars.
Age of Adaline is out in cinemas today.