Some films that beg to be seen on the big screen and those that can wait. The Age of Adaline falls into the former. Alas, as with most films, I never did see this at the box office. 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. Though a risk, during a shopping trip I bought a DVD copy.
The Age of Adaline (2015) Film Review
In the early 1900s, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) is born. She lives a charmed kind of life with a family who loves her. She meets and falls in love with a talented architect. A daughter named Flemming soon follows, and they enjoy a wonderfully full life. Until she doesn’t and tragedy strikes. Adaline lost her husband and not long after, she was in a car accident that altered her forever.
Since that fateful night, Adaline stops aging.
This curiosity earns the attention of the FBI forcing Adaline to go on the run. She changes her identity through the decades, moving often though she remains close to her daughter (Ellen Burstyn). With exception to one mistake in the past 60 years, Adaline has also remains unattached. This has been her rule… until today. Ringing in a new year – 2015, introduces her to Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman). Recognizing Adaline from a previous encounter, 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.
With the sequel vs the action blockbuster battles, the box office isn’t kind to ingenuity. Nor is it commonplace for quiet dramas. This film fulfills both needs in one story. Not only does it allow quiet and unique to co-exist, it does so with beautiful skill. The story suffers a few drawbacks, but for the most part, I feel like this film is one of the best to come along in a while. The script is a stunning story of a woman who lives an extraordinary life, her fear of love and the journeys she takes.
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To begin, I must say Blake Lively is amazing. She pulls off Adaline’s quiet, classy and wise persona with grace and self-confidence. Plus, let’s not forget the stunning costumes “through the years” of Adaline’s story. I adore Adaline as a character; she may have character quirks as any character does, but her classic beauty and grace is a testament to what good characterization is. This is essentially Blake’s first starring role, and she meets the challenge. 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 like him. A lot. Perhaps his being played by a relative unknown helps to sell this. Everyone in the cast – including Harrison Ford and the actor who plays Ford’s younger self, are quite good.
“Tell me something I can hold on to forever… and never let go.” – The Age of Adaline
Naturally, the costumes too are beautiful. If there is a complaint, 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. Not only is it gorgeous, it’s a classic stunner that attests to the epitome of style. The story itself sort of evolves along with its fashion and whirlwind of eras. Adaline tires of leading the life she exists in. She’s alone and fearful of where time leads her. She misses living because she’s too laser-focused on escaping what it waits to offer her. How she eventually comes 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.
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