Lee Toland Krieger
In “The Age of Adaline,” Blake Lively plays the titular character who, while well over 100 years old, only looks about 28. This is the result of an accident that happened decades ago and for Adaline, there doesn’t seem to be a medical reason for it. Do to her inability to age, every 10 years, Adaline packs up, moves and changes her name so people won’t get suspicious.
The movie picks up just as Adaline is preparing another change in her life. Just as she seems ready to move on, though, a man named Ellis (Huisman) enters her life and the two get along well. The issue, though, is whether Adaline wants to break her promise to herself on whether or not to keep moving on with a new identity now that she’s met Ellis.
“The Age of Adaline” is an interesting idea and for the most part the execution is solid. The film explores how Adaline got to where she is and develops the relationship between her and Ellis for a natural, believable feel. While some of the movie’s aspects are a bit predictable, the journey as to how it’s all going to come together in the end was a bit of a mystery.
What didn’t help the film was the narration inserted at various points. The narration wasn’t done by one of the characters and it had no real pay off. It was as if the only reason to have the narration was to hold the viewers’ hand and make sure they understand what’s going on, rather than it being for the purpose of providing a character or characters with more depth.
Another issue with “Adaline” was the overuse of scientific explanation as to why she remains youthful. This was also done by the narrator and once again, it didn’t have any pay off. The scientific terminology just comes off as techno-babble and it was entirely unnecessary in a film that relied more on its mystical feeling than anything.
The film also suffered from a weaker 3rd act. While not bad, it did feel rather rushed and another 10 or 15 minutes to flesh things out a bit more would have been a welcome difference.
As a whole, though, the story of “Adaline” does work fairly well as a touching romance film and it was mainly due to the lead actress.
Lively played Adaline subdued and subtle with a quiet personality, which is exactly how she should have been. Adaline has been on the run most of her long life, she’s not trusting and she has seen it all and done it all. Nothing in life is much of a surprise anymore and it’s noticeable. That’s not to say that her performance lacks from an emotional standpoint, though. The pain and struggle that Adaline has to go through, pushing people away, having to keep to herself, it’s all very noticeable and rather heartbreaking.
Playing opposite of Adaline was Huisman and he too did a solid job. What really worked about his time on screen was his chemistry with Lively. The two were believable as a couple and there are some really good, tender moments between the two of them.
Another positive was Harrison Ford’s appearance on screen. While not having a significant amount of screentime, Ford makes the most of every minute he has. It’s actually one of the more emotional roles he’s undertaken as an actor and the scenes he is in turn out to be very touching.
Even with flaws that are really noticeable at times, “The Age of Adaline” still works and is actually one of the better romance movies in a while. Although it’s not perfect, the performances, the story and the interesting idea itself make it worth seeing. 4 out of 5.