Ageless Adaline

Once upon a time, a potentially decent film was ruined by way too much voice-over narration. Actually that's just one of the many flaws in the beautiful to look at, but ultimately hollow The Age of Adaline. Blake Lively stars in the role of the titular Adaline, a woman who through unusual circumstances loses the ability to age. Stuck forever at the age of 29, she's cursed to live an empty life constantly in her prime. Endless years of looking like a flawless blonde bombshell with a fabulous wardrobe would probably get old for anyone. Woe is her.

The premise isn't actually a bad one, had the writers explored more of the complexities that such a life would present. Don't worry though, they don't want to focus on anything difficult. In fact, if you're worried that the plot may be too complex, do not fear! The entire exposition is pretty much a giant montage slapped together with an incredibly obnoxious narrator. Once he disappears, the film tries to recover by showing us the occasional glimpses into the decades that made her the woman she is. Unfortunately, those moments of insight are few and far between and Adaline remains intentionally mysterious to the audience. Instead of fleshing out her character, the screenwriters instead devote their time to a time-bending Nicholas Sparks type romance that couldn't be blander.

It is made clear to everyone watching the film that Adaline is irresistible, so we as an audience can see why her love interest pursues her. But on her side, Adaline's attraction to her longtime bearded stalker/admirer is truly perplexing. What does a woman with the mentality of a 107-year-old see in a doofus in his 30's? And that's not even getting into the weird dynamic she discovers in the last third of the film. Common sense would dictate that both of these characters would stay far away from each other if they were in their right minds. I did enjoy a couple of their scenes though, specifically where they show each other the hidden gems of San Francisco. If either of those places are real, I need to pay them a visit sometime.

The biggest problem I had with the film though is Adaline herself. I'm not sure whether to attribute that to Blake Lively's aloof performance, the material she was given, or a combination of the two. But whatever the case may be, this larger than life character rang false to me. Certain character traits reminded me of things Bill Murray's character Phil Connor mastered after being trapped in the same day for years in Groundhog Day. In that film, he had no consequences because there was no tomorrow. Age of Adaline would have you believe the same, but they give her almost superhuman powers to prove how clever her extra time has made her (when really, for the most part, she's only living a slightly longer lifespan than regular humans and is still trying to lead a normal life). Too much in this movie just didn't make sense, well beyond the narrator's explanations anyway. The worst offender of those explanations is the last one that ensures the audience understands the film's not so subtle ending.

On the bright side, Blake got to showcase some exquisite clothes. Also having Harrison Ford turn up late in the game (along with his younger counterpart) helped.  If this film gives nothing else to society, maybe it can at the very least be a good resume reel for Anthony Ingruber. If Lucasfilm is needing a young Han Solo or Indiana Jones for any type of reboot Chris Pratt needs to look out! This guy both looks and sounds exactly like a young Harrison. I honestly thought when he first came on screen they were dubbing him and using Harrison's voice. Oh and Ellen Burstyn is good too in the role of Adaline's aging daughter. The scenes focusing on their dynamic are probably the best scenes in the film.

Spoiler (highlight to read) And who in their right mind would give up young Harrison... yet be cool to settle with his less cute son years later?? (/end spoiler)

Overall The Age of Adaline is too concerned with spoon feeding its audience to be anything other than average. EMILY RATING: 5.5/10


Sarah said...

It's too bad they didn't do more with this movie. It could have been really interesting and thought provoking. She does look fantastic though and it looks like she has some really fun clothes throughout.

John Smistad said...

Nice review here, Emily. This movie actually could have been pretty cool. But even the previews kind of revealed that it's not. And your take confirms such. Oh well. We've still got "Back To The Future". ;o]

Johanna said...

Dang. I was looking forward to this one. Well, I'll watch it when it's On Demand. :)