Spoiler alert: There are multiple spoilers for plot points in this review. If you intend to watch the movie without knowing the basic plot, please don't read any further.
The ending is so cliché and predictable. But don't be too disheartened! That's among the few shortcomings of the film. With similarities to such films as "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "Midnight in Paris," "The Age of Adaline" follows a similar theme of complicated love and the manipulation of time by the supernatural and is truly delightful.
In the beginning of the movie, we are informed by a nameless narrator that Adaline, who was born at the turn of the 19th century, was in a car wreck at the age of 29. They complicate the situation with both real and fabricated science, but in essence, she ceases to age after that point. She is eventually found out. People begin to notice that Adaline has not aged, and the federal government comes after her. She is able to escape, but does so with the realization that being among normal people, telling her real age, has become dangerous, not only for herself but for her aging daughter. So she goes into hiding, creating new false identities every decade to mask her real age and true self.
Present in this movie is a plot encompassing cliché, the complicated love story. While at first glance, this may be to the film's detriment, it presents a new set of ways to look at a love that is ill-fated. Adaline unexpectedly falls in love with a gentleman who treats her well and who, if not for Adaline's condition and his age, would be a great match. She must choose between allowing herself to be present in this relationship or slipping away from his life just like she slipped out of her own.
Adaline's daughter, when informed of this potential suitor, pleads with her mother to let him in. Why do you still live in fear? Aren't you tired of being alone? I think this presents a strong case for the modern dating climate. Momentarily disregarding the group of young people who are intent on never marrying, this is very similar to the state of current dating trends. Men and women in their twenties are waiting longer to settle down, and why? Like Adaline, we have been conditioned to fear commitment to the future. Many have been scared by the high divorce rate in America, which is partially mythical.
The divorce rate peaked at 50% in the 1970s and 1980s and has been on the decline ever since. However, this makes it especially pertinent to young people now, half of whose parents were probably divorced. We are scared because we witnessed starving relationships as children, and myth or not, the nearness of divorce is still very real. So young people today, in parallel with Adaline's actions in the film, make themselves unavailable. When the situation becomes complicated, or progresses toward a more serious relationship, we write notes, send intentionally vague texts and check out of our own lives.
Adaline ultimately comes to realize that she must forget the things she was once afraid of if she is to have fulfilling relationships, and I think that we all could take a play from her playbook.
In addition to the lovely story, "The Age of Adaline" has some wonderful casting with Blake Lively in the main role, and Harrison Ford playing the father of the man she falls in love with. It feels good, it brings some wonderful historical contexts to the table and is definitely a film I would recommend seeing.