Carve out some time for "The Age of Adaline"
“Love will find a way, if you want it to.” In 1987, Yes, a seminal progressive rock group, released a catchy pop song, “Love Will Find a Way”, and the track’s main point is in order to find love, one has to be open to the idea. For Adaline (Blake Lively), a modest, but whip smart library researcher, she is not open to the idea of falling in love and living “happily ever after”.
She has felt this way for 80 years for a very good reason: Adaline, born in 1908, has not aged a day since a strange accident in 1935 and feels she cannot reveal her fountain of youth mishap to anyone. Hence, she lives her life on the run, living in one place with one identity for about 10 years, packing up and starting over again. The picture’s premise is an engaging one, and although it feels a little hokey at times, “The Age of Adaline” packages fantasy, science fiction and good old-fashioned romance into a well-produced and entertaining movie.
It’s a good-looking film that certainly captures the look and feel of the various time periods our heroine lives through.
Director Lee Toland Krieger seems to care about the small details as costumes and sets look terrific as we move from the 30s, 50s to 2015. A the end of the day, however, it is Lively’s performance which really stands out. Adaline looks in her late-20s, but carries an old soul, and Lively completely captures one hundred plus years of living by demonstrating grace, wisdom, cadence, and overall premise.
For example, when an eager suitor, Ellis (Michiel Huisman), approaches Adaline on New Year’s Eve, we really feel her apprehension.
She reacts like she has heard every line in the book thousands and thousands of times before over an 80-year swim in the dating pool, and in fact, she has.
With so much living, Adaline had time to learn plenty of languages and earned enough stripes to offer sound advice to anyone who wants to win the game of life.
It is a soulful performance, and Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn provide excellent key roles to Adaline’s story with wonderful and complimentary performances.
Huisman is good as well, but - quite frankly - I didn’t wholly buy a potential romance between Ellis and Adaline.
I didn’t see the chemistry on-screen, however, that’s a minor quibble, because Lively, Ford and Burstyn truly capture an engaging story on their own. This film is not a “timeless classic”, but “The Age of Adaline” is a lovely theatrical experience.
3 / 4 stars
Image credits: Lionsgate, Warner Bros.