Title: The Age of Adaline
Genre: Drama / Romance
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Lead actors: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford
Year of release: 2015
In short: The story is about a woman named Adaline Bowman (Lively), born in 1908. She is not an ordinary human being. As a recent widow, she got into a car accident and subsequently got struck by lightning. As a result she doesn’t age. That means that she stays her beautiful 29 year old for quite some time.. This is an interesting angle that is not explored enough to my liking. The story takes place in present time with flashbacks here and there to give her character some depth. There are not a lot of perks of staying young forever, the film focuses on the fact that Adaline has to move every ten years and change her identity. So she can’t afford to develop a longtime relationship of any kind – after all there is no possible future. The only friend she has had some time is a blind pianist, but even she doesn’t know the truth. She knows Adaline as ‘Amanda’, only her daughter knows about her mothers secret. She caught up with Adeline a long time ago in age and is an old woman now who introduces herself as Adaline’s grandmother to the outside world. But of course, there’s some romance going on that changes things. Adaline, in the present ‘Jenni(fer)’, meets Ellis Jones (Huisman). They get romantically involved to the point that he takes her to meet his family. Then becomes clear that Ellis’ dad, William, was a former lover of Adaline. She has to come clean when he finds out that she is in fact his former lover and not her daughter as she tries to hide the truth. In the end Adaline gets into another car accident and gets saved by an AED. She comes clean with Ellis and they end up happily ever after. The second accident, conveniently, ‘changed her DNA so she grows old again.’
Blake Lively as Adaline Bowman: Very good acting. Lively was very charming and convincing as an ‘old soul’. Her different outfits and hairstyles are absolutely stunning. They certainly hold one’s own with her famous ‘Gossip Girl’ portrayal. She came across a bit cold but I think that was believable since she wanted to keep her distance because of her – well let’s call it – condition.
Michiel Huisman as Ellis Jones: Maybe I should be supporting him because he is Dutch. But I did not really like his role. He is a nice guy but there is a lack of chemistry between Ellis and Jenni/Adaline. Their romance is just not believable enough, they had two dates and he’s bringing her to see his parents and declares his love? Also, how could Adaline be impressed by this little boy, being on earth for 107 years when she meets him?
Harrison Ford as William Jones: This guy really made the film so much better. The scène in which he sees Adaline for the first time in years. His long lost love, is heartbreaking. The emotions between the two gave me some teary eyes too. Very tragic how it was so clear that he loved Adaline so much that he named a comet after her but kept this a secret to his family, with a wife that can feel that she is his second choice.
Ellen Burstyn as Flemming Prescott: Letting Adeline have a daughter that grows old while she stays young was an essential element to the film. There is a scène where they have dinner and Flemming contemplates about going to a retirement home. This is a very confronting part that really shows the big downside of Adaline’s situation. I also like how Flemming is talking like an old grandma while Adaline, although being 107 years mentally, doesn’t act like a granny at all. Unfortunately there was no space to give Flemming more depth, no grandchildren or son in law – as it seems – for Adaline.
Improve the movie: I really liked the concept of not growing older, it lets us think about the downside of the magical possibility of eternal life. It reminded me a bit of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The acting of Lively and Ford was very good and made the film touching at times. Another good thing to me was that there was not too much melodrama. Of course, some tragic things have happened to Adaline but they did not let us see it elaborately. It was mentioned that she was a widow but they did not let us see a whole grieving period. You do see her having a break down after her dog dies. It was almost at the same point as she had dinner with her daughter who grows visible old and when she almost moves away again (that means away from Ellis). That was just enough to make the character a vulnerable human being. I was not very fond of the narrator that was talking in – I call it – Amélie style. It would have been nicer if Adaline did the narration herself.
What is just not convincing is the relationship between Adaline and Ellis. The problem is that this is meant to be the central point of the film. It could have been if there was more development between the two. And, if her past relationship with William was not so strong. I mean, how William talks about her, the feels.. How she inspired him to find his true passion in astronomy. The wedding proposal he wanted to make to her. Naming his comet after her. Being more on the same level knowledge wise. The fact that Adaline moved from England back to the US with William back in the day. The exchanged looks between the two. That Adaline introduced herself to him with her real name, whilst she never did that to anyone else. OK, you get the point. So, it would be way better if Adaline and William were ‘endgame’. For example, they could have made him a divorced dad and change Ellis into a girl that Adaline befriended. Another thing is that the second accident was too fabricated. I did wish Adaline could age again but it was a little bit too convenient. It would also be interesting to see the reaction of the Ellis’ family when they discovered the truth. It was nice that William lets Ellis chase Adaline. That does mean that he is ‘over’ her and in one of the last scènes he calls his wife the love of his life. But hey, who are you fooling? There would be done more justice to the story if it was turned into a mini series. Adaline’s past can be so interesting whereas we can only catch a glimpse of it in this film. The Age of Adeline: beautiful to look at but a bit empty inside.
P.S. Who else concurs that Adaline getting the same breed of dog over and over again, of which she puts pictures in an album, is kind of creepy. As if you can replace a living animal with an exact copy, I understand that she wants something to keep her company. But nah, it had a weird vibe to it.
3 out of 5 stars