Describing The Age of Adaline in a mere few sentences is a difficult task. Primarily, it’s a romance movie, marketed toward the Nicolas Sparks loving moviegoers that are seeking a cute love story. On the other hand, it’s also a fantasy film, with a plot centering around a woman who is the victim of a mysterious act of god that causes her to become immune to the ravages of time, playing almost like a vampire movie without the fangs. So, we have a movie that begins with a supernatural event, drags on with a primary focus on romance, and steadily becomes superior in quality. By the time the film ends (actually, by the time the third act arrives), this movie is not only a moderately enjoyable romance flick, but actually an intriguing sci-fi tale that never forgets its romance roots (or its target audience).
As Adaline Bowman, Blake Lively (Gossip Girl, The Town) is terrific, playing a character that is required to keep a secret that she only shares with her daughter, Flemming (Ellen Burstyn). The secret is that Adaline has been alive for almost eight decades, remaining a 29-year old woman in looks and physicality. How? She was in a car accident all those years ago, struck by lightning, and, just like that, immune to age and physical change. For decades, Adaline moves in and out of cities, forming relationships and bonds (but trying to keep to herself) and picking up and leaving whenever people get suspicious.
In the present day, she’s attending a party in San Francisco when she meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman, who plays Daario in Game of Thrones), a book loving hunk with rock hard abs and a well-trimmed beard. They fall in love, of course, and this is the relationship that we’re meant to be into and supportive of, but the movie doesn’t kick into high emotional gear until the third act, in which it becomes great.
No lie, the final forty minutes or so, which is instigated by Ellis taking Adaline (now going by the name of Jenny) to visit his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker), is 4-star material. Ford, in a role that I won’t spoil for the sake of surprise, gives one of the best and emotionally impactful screen performances of his career. And the script itself goes from being a slightly above-average rom-dram to being something so much more. It could have benefited from a lack of narration, but Blake Lively’s consistency and the terrific final act make this more than worth your time, especially if you’re taking your special someone.
1 hr. 50 mins.
Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment
Starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Kathy Baker, Ellen Burstyn
Written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger