Film Review: “The Age of Adaline”

Photo courtesy of AceShowBiz.
Photo courtesy of AceShowBiz.

Despite a riveting topic, the movie is more like a Blake Lively fashion show due to a weak script.

Photo courtesy of AceShowBiz.
Photo courtesy of AceShowBiz.

Rating 3.0/5.0
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger
Starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker
Rated PG-13
Release Date: April 24

Mortals dream of being immortal and staying young forever. Yet there is one beauty who is deeply bothered by the fact that she could never age. “The Age of Adaline,” with its luxurious costumes and fine cinematography, is effective in attracting audiences who have imagined the possibility of staying young forever.

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), unable to age due to a nearly fatal accident when she was 29, has to keep moving and changing her identity every decade. When she encounters Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) almost eighty years after the accident, her desire for romantic love is rekindled. In the meantime, she struggles with this relationship, which she considers impossible because “there is no growing old together” with Ellis — who falls more in love with her every day. Adaline thus runs into the dilemma of disclosing her secret or running away from her lover.

The film is eye-catching in its costume design for Adaline, which varies according to the time she lives in, from the old-fashioned finger wave hairstyle popularized in the 1920s to modern fancy dresses from Gucci. Set in San Francisco, “The Age of Adaline” features the city’s views from last century to the present. The scenery of twentieth-century San Francisco first appears in an old video that Adaline nostalgically watched with tearful eyes, which immediately leads to the question of her real age. It is through the changing sights of San Francisco that the audience empathizes with her helplessness and wistfulness.

Photo courtesy of AceShowBiz.
Photo courtesy of AceShowBiz.

However, the script does not achieve the same level of success as the visual elements do. Though imaginative, the storyline is too simple and predictable, as the only surprise is already shown in the trailer. While not disappointing, it does not contain much originality either. The script lacks depth and does not allow the audience enough room to fathom the heroine’s emotions. Lively’s acting makes the character’s nostalgia and suffering easy to understand, but her inner feelings should be much more complicated. In addition, instead of discussing the topic of “age,” the film focuses on the romantic story of the two characters, which makes the film a little superficial. It does not mention how Adaline survived the destructive events of the last hundred years. Aside from the romantic drama, it looks like “The Age of Adaline” is only trying to show people how wonderful aging actually is, which is not an original idea.

While there is too much emphasis on the mediocre romance, the outstanding performances of Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford make the film more attractive. The mother-daughter relationship between Adaline and her daughter Flemming (Ellen Burstyn) is quite unique: when Flemming reaches her eighties, she pretends to be Adaline’s grandmother, which is both sad and comedic. Ford, in the story, appears as the old lover of Adaline, and is also Ellis’ father. His subtle acting has a drastic effect in arousing the audience’s sympathy.

Undeniably, the conversations are humorous, which compensates for the shallow storyline. But it is a pity that the fashion and cinematography are more appealing than the story itself. With a better script, it could have been an exquisite movie.

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