Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Age of Adaline

Age of Adaline plays it safe rather than committing to its premise, resulting into a beautifully presented but emotionally shallow and generic love story with thin characters.

After miraculously remaining 29 years old for almost eight decades, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has lived a solitary existence, never allowing herself to get close to anyone who might reveal her secret. But a chance encounter with charismatic philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) reignites her passion for life and romance. When a weekend with his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker) threatens to uncover the truth, Adaline makes a decision that will change her life forever. [Lionsgate]

Age of Adaline looked promising in the beginning.

Borrowing the narrator from “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, the movie starts by revealing its premise early on. Thanks to Hugh Ross, it sounds interesting even though its a ridiculous plot device.

The movie looks elegant and detailed. Wide angle and tracking shots capture the sophisticated Adaline and the beauty of San Francisco. Production design added enough details to make every time period and Adaline’s decades old belongings distinct. This includes the now rare photo album with sepia pictures, which has the same breed of family dog over the years. It was a good sentimental touch.

Blake Lively finally had the chance to play a character that doesn’t rely on her looks and did well. She plays a refined but world-weary old soul. However, the real actor who shines in this movie is Harrison Ford who was able to project longing and regret in just a few scenes.

Beyond that, Age of Adaline doesn’t have much because it prefers to play it safe.

The narrative is executed well, but it doesn’t explore its premise and commit to the silliness of its idea. It even fails to address a simple question – is she immortal?  The obvious subject here would be eternal youth, but the movie glosses over that too. It would have been interesting if it showed more about the dynamic between the forever young Adaline and her aging daughter, but the talents of Ellen Burstyn goes underused.

Adaline is a good character to built upon but the script doesn’t have much to work with. The movie barely scratches the surface of a woman who has decades of experience concealing her identity and running away from suspicious individuals while distancing herself from anyone except her daughter.

Rather than adding depth to any of its core elements, it morphs into a Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation.

Lively’s character arc revolves around a guy. Meanwhile, Michiel Huisman is reduced to a one dimensional romantic. It’s unconvincing why Adaline wouldn’t commit to this guy who is a convenient gallant knight that would wax poetic about eternal love.

Like any other Sparks movie, it’s eventually filled with convenient contrivances and predictable twists of fate as the plot progresses. You’ll already know how it will end once the love interest shows up.

Age of Adaline is pretty much a waste of potential. It could have injected something fresh into a familiar subject but sticks to a formula that wastes its high production value.

My Rating: 4/10

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