We attended an advanced screening of The Age Of Adaline. This is our The Age Of Adaline review (although it was not required of us and our attending had nothing to do with this blog).
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We eat vegetables and avoid red meat. We work out. We take our vitamins and go to the doctor for check ups. We keep our minds and bodies active. We do all these things to stay healthy, to prolong our lives and avoid the inevitable: dying.
But what if you were living forever?
That’s the premise of The Age Of Adaline. Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) gets into a tragic car accident at the age of 29, which stops her aging. For the next eight decades, Adaline is a year shy of 30. At least, physically. Her mind and soul are over 100, but she doesn’t look a day over 29.
The viewer has to lend a little (okay, a lot of) believably to the idea that someone can just stop aging (something, the narrator explains, will be more understood in 2035). But for now, in the spring of 2015, we are to just believe the far fetched tale that an accident stopped Adaline from aging … which sounds great to me. You never get older, you never get gray hairs, and wrinkles are a future that never comes.
But it’s sad, actually. Adaline’s daughter Flemming (Izabel Pearce, then Julia Torrance, then Cate Richardson, then, finally, Ellen Burstyn) gets older while Adaline doesn’t. And, although Adaline says she will always be her mother, she must be introduced as Flemming’s friend. Later, as her granddaughter. That’s when the notion of living forever starts to change. You realize that the circle of life is happening for everyone but you and everyone you come to love will leave you, under no choice of their own. It’s just life and death.
So Adaline chooses not to love. And, as anyone in love knows, that’s a pretty lonely existence. But it’s her only option. She travels light and establishes few roots. She must be on the run every decade, changing her identity from one 29-year-old to another. Because there’s no way to explain how a woman who is 108 looks 29. There’s no bottle or cream for that. (The only ones who believe the ludicrous story that it’s true are the movie goers.)
But then, as movie magic would have it, she falls in love.
And of course, that turns this into a romantic movie that’s perfect for date night. Although Adaline herself is timeless, this movie isn’t. You won’t be positioning it next to Casablanca in your movie rotation. But it’s cute and it’s done well. There’s no cursing, no sex scenes (although you do see a couple together in bed in the morning); there aren’t any explosions or brutality. There’s a little blood, but nothing cringe-worthy. Overall, it’s really wholesome. It’s so rare lately to find a movie that can tell a story without needing to blow things up or have naked people running around to hold the viewers’ attention. So I really applaud The Age Of Adaline for accomplishing this.
Lively does great with the part (especially if you attribute the fact that she is so wise and stuffy to the fact that she is, in fact, almost 110). And with the role of her love interest Ellis Jones, Michiel Huisman does well too. He’s not a character you instantly fall in love with and root for, but he’s very likable. The ace, though, is Jones’ father William (Harrison Ford). What a surprise performance this was. He just does such a great job in the part and if he doesn’t get a supporting actor nod during award season for this role, I’ll blame it more on the movie than his acting.
We really liked it, overall, a whole lot more than we expected. We could have done without the sci-fi narrator portion of it because viewers can figure out the story on their own without a voice over that, honestly, doesn’t explain much. But I’ll overlook it because everything else was well done (especially Adaline’s outfits. I loved the costumes in this). It’s a good movie, one that will pull at your heart and your mind.
Have you seen it? What did you think?
The Age Of Adaline is out on DVD now. You can purchase it here.