Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker, Hugh Ross
Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger
Written By: J. Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 40 min
After a traffic accident, Adaline Bowman is seemingly doomed to die at age 29 until a bolt of lightning resurrects the California native, and miraculously stops the aging process. A moment in the movie given a surprisingly convincing scientific explanation by the story’s annoying narrator, Hugh Ross. That I wouldn’t be shocked to hear about increased road accidents this winter as our more delusional and vain population try to recreate the events in the film!
Blake Lively plays Adaline Bowman, and is the single best reason to see this film. I usually find characters in movies that are supposed to be advanced in years, hardly ever act their age. But that’s not the case here, as Lively walks and talks with a smooth confident elegance that betrays her youthful looks. She’s every bit the old soul, weighed down by years of loss, and running to hide her condition. It truly is an amazing performance, and I hope it still resonates with the powers that be come next year’s award season, as it deserves some recognition.
As for the rest of the film, The Age of Adaline mostly works as a romance movie, but relies a little too much on its narrator to explain away Adaline’s past. It also tries to inject magic into the story by connecting Adaline’s condition with astrological events, while simultaneously providing a scientific reason for everything that happens. Which made we wonder what writers J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz were afraid of. We go to the movies for the magic – right? If it’s presented correctly, no explanation is necessary. Did anyone care how Bill Murray kept reliving Groundhog Day?
The Age of Adaline presents a touching romance story, and is well-played by its entire cast. The production design, score and photography are also first-rate, and this is a beautifully paced film. Its first two acts are the most solid, as the story and romance unfold and blossom. But it’s sadly let down by a clumsy transition into the third act as the film resorts to some clichéd Hallmark moments to steer the story towards a conclusion.
If you enjoy romance movies, then I think you’ll be entertained by The Age of Adaline. For the most part the writing is solid, and the performances are credible.
David Lanzenberg’s photography is best appreciated on a theater screen. If you wait for the rental, a HD screening on your TV is the best option. This film’s impact will be negatively affected if viewed on a laptop, tablet or phone sized screen.
One thing that’s always fun in stories like this is when the ‘older’ character, with decades of education under their belt, surprises people around them with their knowledge. Like when Adaline helps her boyfriend Ellis (Michiel Huisman) communicate with his Portuguese business partners.
I was also impressed with Anthony Ingruber as the younger version of Harrison Ford’s character, William Jones. Such a great casting choice, and he could, if he were willing, make a career out of playing Han Solo or Indiana Jones in any and all prequels and reboots that will more than likely arrive in our movie theaters over the next ten to fifteen years.