The Age of Adaline (2015)
There are some films that beg to be seen on the big screen and those that can wait. This fell among the former category for me, but as with most films, I never got around to seeing it. Multiple people told me it was excellent – everyone from family to blogging friends, and yet I never took the initiative to see it while it played in theaters. It’s recently been released to DVD. Taking a risk, a shopping trip saw us buying a copy, which leads us to this review. Before I get into my thoughts, below is a recap of the story.
Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) was born in the early 1900s. She had a charmed kind of life with a family who loved her. She met and fell in love with a talented architect. Had a daughter named Flemming and lived a wonderfully full life. Until she didn’t and tragedy struck. Adaline lost her husband and not long after, she was in a car accident that altered her forever. Since that fateful night, Adaline stopped aging.
This curiosity earned the attention of the FBI forcing Adaline to go on the run. She changes her identity through the decades, moving often though still remaining close to her daughter (Ellen Burstyn). With exception to one mistake in the past 60 years, Adaline has also remained unattached. This has been her rule… until today. Ringing in a new year – 2015, introduces her to Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman). Having seen Adaline once before, Ellis is intrigued, and he pursues Adaline without reservation. But her secret remains between them and without promise of a real future, Adaline finds herself afraid of change… and love.
Between the battle of the sequel and the high-action blockbuster, the box office isn’t exactly a place commonly known for its ingenuity. Nor is it commonplace for quiet dramas. This film fulfills both needs in one fell swoop. Not only does it allow the quiet and unique to co-exist, it does so with a beautifully woven skill. The story suffers a few drawbacks as anything does, but for the most part, I felt like this film is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. The script tells a stunning story of a woman who lived an extraordinary life (even if the scenario was one-hundred percent unbelievable), her fear of love and the journeys she takes.
To start off, I must say Blake Lively is an amazing actress. She pulls of Adaline’s quiet, classyand wise persona with grace and self-confidence to say nothing of the stunning costumes she wears “through the years” of Adaline’s story. I adored Adaline as a leading character. She may have had character quirks as with any character, but her classic beauty and grace is a testament to what good characterization can be. This is essentially Blake’s first starring role in the sense of it’s her who carries the film (she isn’t billed under a male lead or bunched together with her peers) and I felt like she performed the role wonderfully and then some. Ellis is something of a different story. He’s not a typical male lead, and is in fact, easily clustered in with the eccentric millionaire trope, but… I liked him. A lot. Perhaps his being played by a relative unknown helped sell that. Everyone in the cast – including Harrison Ford (and I was also very impressed with the actor who played Harrison’s younger self - can we say good casting) and Kathy Baker, are quite good.
Naturally, the costumes too are beautiful. If there is one complaint there, it’d be that we don’t see enough of Adaline’s fashion from the decades she strolls through. But to make up for it, costumers give contemporary Adaline a stunning wardrobe. Seriously, her party dress in the beginning of the film is the only kind of “evening wear” women should wear because it wasn’t only gorgeous, it was a classic stunner that attests to the true epitome of style. The story itself sort of evolves right along with its fashion and whirlwind of eras. Adaline was, essentially, tired of leading the life she existed in. She was alone and fearful of where time would lead her. She missed living life because she was too laser-focused on escaping what it was waiting to offer her. How she eventually came to learn, accept and open herself to love was a full circle kind of ending that is breathlessly lovely.
Those of us who admire the quieter, slower-paced drama are sure to make this film a frequent re-watch. It’s one of those films that has as good of a message as its performers stun with their characters. Actually, the script is a kind of fairy tale that does take a few unique liberties though its compass ultimately points to happy-ever-after. If you don’t mind a few flaws (there are some) and a pinch of whimsy, The Age of Adaline is sure to enchant you. It certainly met and exceeded my expectations.
(Content: there is one implied sex scene. The couple begins kissing before the scene fades away; we next see them lying in bed together, tangled up in sheets. There is some minor profanity. The film is rated PG13.)