Friday, 30 June 2017

Film Review: The Age of Adaline

'The Age of Adaline' is yet another film that tries to address the concept of ageing, using implausible "science", to justify an essentially very silly plot. If you can get over that, and the inexplicable and often jarring storybook narration throughout, there's stuff in here to be enjoyed.

Blake Lively stars as Adaline Bowman, a woman born in 1908 who meets and loses her husband in the construction of the Golden Gate bridge. Years later, she's involved in a freak accident of her own ; she's struck by lightning and from then on doesn't age, staying fixed at 29 forever. While she can be killed, she will never die of natural causes, striking  an interesting dynamic  between herself and daughter played by Ellen Burnstyn, though the film doesn't explore this nearly as much as it could have.

Adaline realises she'll have to spend the rest of her life on the run and every decade or so, she slips away reappearing somewhere else as somebody else. Bar one time in the 60's when she fell in love with a medical student, William - a medical student, she's been keeping her distance from everyone. That is until she meets Ellis Jones, a perfectly "nice" philanthropist who awakens her longing for love and companionship.

Ellis and Adaline - now Jenny, make a rather bland couple; both attractive, sweet ... precious even but lack any other identifiable traits. Adaline is constantly described as "remarkable" when the truth of the matter is, the only reason she's great at trivia and speaks so many languages, is because she's been around a bit. As they fall in love, she crosses paths with William (Harrison Ford) who by a random turn of events, is Ellis' father. Ford's gives a strong performance as a man rattled by the similarity between "Jenny" and his lost love Adaline. As he  begins to unravel, and a series of events follow that threaten to expose the truth.

While Lively and Huisman are perfectly acceptable leads, their presence doesn't demand much of us and for the most part, 'The Age of Adaline' feels painstakingly slow. Ford however elevates the film, giving it the gravitas and much needed emotional tug this film so desperately needs. That said, it's not really enough. The film's neatly tied up ending just goes to show its overall failure to take risks and develop any of it's more interesting fairy-tale like aspects.


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