"Tell me something I can hold on to forever and never let go."
At first glance one might assume that The Age of Adaline is a failed adaptation of a romantic novel that tries to cram the different story elements into a two hour film, but in reality the screenplay was written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz directly for this movie. Having a narrator explain the reasons for the main character’s miraculous secret for not aging enforces even more that intuition that the film is a book adaptation and they’re simply trying to summarize as quick as possible the premise for the movie so they can move on to the love story. Unfortunately the screenplay is actually the greatest problem in The Age of Adaline. It seems as if director, Lee Toland Krieger, could’ve used Rashida Jones’s help with the screenplay because this is a step down from his previous collaboration with her in Celeste & Jesse Forever. If you want to watch a unique romantic film, then I’d recommend that movie over this one because The Age of Adaline is full of predictable twists and the romantic story is a bit rushed. The film never really sells the fact that a 100 year old woman should be depressed for having to push away the people she loves because she doesn’t age (I’d understand if she were much older, but a hundred years doesn’t sell it for me).
A narrator (Hugh Ross) introduces us to Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) who was born at the beginning of the 20th century, but after having experienced an accident doesn’t age anymore. After eight decades she remains looking like her 29 year-old self. The only one who knows her secret is her daughter, Flemming (Ellen Burstyn) who by now is an old lady who has to introduce her to everyone else as a friend. Adaline has been changing her identity every ten or so years moving from one place to another never allowing herself to fall in love or tell her secret to anyone, but things change when she meets a young philanthropist named Ellis (Michiel Huisman) who quickly falls for her and relentlessly begins to pursue her with his unique charm. He invites Adaline for his parents’ (played by Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker) 40 year anniversary reunion, and that is where Adaline has to decide wether she should reveal her secret to him or continue running like she has been during all these years. If you’ve seen a decent number of romantic movies in the past, you will probably be able to predict where all this is heading.
The reason why I put so much emphasis on the screenplay during the first paragraph of this review is because I actually enjoyed the performances from the cast, but the weak screenplay is what ultimately brought it down for me. Blake Lively and Michiel Huisman deliver believable and charismatic performances and they do have strong chemistry together, but everything seems to be rushed for the purpose of getting to the twist in the story and when it comes you already were expecting it. Lively plays her character with grace and elegance and you can tell time has made her wise. She wouldn’t fall in love with a simply charming and good looking guy, and Ellis easily proves there is something more about him. The relationship is believable, but it doesn’t take its time to build on it. Harrison Ford is incredibly refreshing in this film and he has some strong scenes with Lively and Baker. There is something quite disturbing about the twist that isn’t ever addressed and that is what I found more disappointing than the actual predictability of the story. The performances were all great, but with a better screenplay this could’ve been a stronger film because it does look beautiful. Overall I had a decent time with The Age of Adaline, but I can’t get past some of the flaws so watch this at your own risk.