I recently saw Age of Adaline, starring Blake Lively, with my wife. I like the idea of immortality or Dorian-Grey like themes as they can allow the story to go virtually anywhere. The movie can span decades, centuries or millions of years if you want it to. The scope of such films are boundless also. These movies also beg the question: What would you do if you didn’t age? Would you hide from society because human connection is too painful or would you try to conquer the world like a Vandal Savage-type? Would you try to learn everything you wouldn’t normally have time to or would you become super lazy because– well…. you have time for that stuff later?
The movie wasn’t bad…but I don’t think it was great either. Immortality doesn’t always have to take on a mega-scope but perhaps the scale was too small to be significant?
Adaline Boweman was a normal woman until one ‘magical night’ she accidentally drives off a cliff. She falls into a freezing lake where her heart eventually stops. A miraculous lightening strike hits the water which defib’s her heart and the narrator tells us that the lightening strike also keeps her cells in a sort of solid state so she doesn’t age. He assures us that this state of the cells will be discovered in 2035–but for now Adaline is a medical anomaly.
Nothing really changes in her life, until her daughter starts to look older than she does. She lives life normally until one night, she get’s pulled over buy a cop who, upon checking her ID, demands that she come down to the precinct later because he doesn’t believe that she was born in 1908. EVentually a few FBI agents start tailing her and even attempt to kidnap her, most likely to experiment. She got away and decided to live her life on the run. Every 10 years she movies somewhere else with a new identity and name.
This works well for her for a long time–always running and never getting too close to anyone (maybe?). She is getting ready for her next “move”–I think moving to Oregon… to a farm house of sorts. She goes to a party a conveniently blind friend is playing music at when a super rich guy names Ellis walks in the door and instantly becomes enamored with Adaline. She kept pushing him away but Ellis is a persistent dog so she eventually gives in (with some convincing from her, now elderly, daughter.
They spend some time dating and eventually Adaline goes with him to meet his family. Where his dad, played by Harrison Ford, instantly recognized Adaline as his former flame from his much much much younger days. She was, most likely, the love of his life and he had even wanted to propose to her but she ran away upon seeing the ring. Adaline gets passed his remembrance temporarily by stating that Adaline was her mother. That excuse doesn’t hold water for long and throughout the weekend Adaline has to face her past and decisions on how to embrace her future.
If it sounds boring, that’s because it might be. It is a very slow paced film that honestly feels forced in certain aspects. You get to see Harrison Ford’s love unfold for Adaline, but you don’t get to see his son’s love unfold. His seems instantaneous… which leaves you with the feeling that maybe he isn’t as deserving? At least that’s how I felt.
Also the mysterious FBI agents that cause her to change her entire life just don’t come off that menacing or realistic. AND they literally only show up once in the movie–I don’t get that…
Harrison Ford was probably the best thing about this movie. His character battles with obviously still loving Adaline– but also staying IN love with his current wife that he had been married to for 40 years. Additionally he has to learn to accept that Adaline is his son’s girl and even helps to guide and protect their relationship. The scene where he sees Adaline again for the first time in decades was pretty believable and well done. He seemed in love with Adaline still but not in a way that made you hate him.
This movie also utilized narration a lot. Having the story told to you rather than actually acted out. I’m usually not a fan of this as it comes off as cheap or lazy– and that’s exactly how it felt in this film too.
My ranking will be based on plot/story, characters, storytelling, acting and ad-campaign.. this ranking may change in the future but I think each of these is important to a film in their own right!
The plot was pretty cool– even if how the story was told was a bit misguided. Immortality is probably something tricky to live with especially if you’re the only one in the world who is immortal. I also like the dynamic of Harrsion Ford’s vs His son. You get to feel bad that the dad’s love didn’t work out all while rooting for his son’s love to succeed. (17/20)
This was tough for me…. I like Adaline as a character and I liked Harrison Ford’s character… but Ellis as a character just seemed too…perfect? They tried to give him flaws with small jabs here or there but nothing major enough for you to notice. I also didn’t like the employment of weird FBI agents who didn’t seem all that threatening? So…(10/20).
Harrison Ford was the best actor in this movie…. Blake Lively came off as cold and flat–which I think might have been the direction they wanted? But Lively generally seems flat in her roles which is sad because I feel like she COULD be a good actress. (10/20).
The story can be seen in two different ways as there are two different stories in this film. The story of Ellis’s love and the story of his dad’s love. I leaned in favor of his dad’s because it seemed more developed overall and not something instantaneous. However the biggest flaw in HOW they told the story was that they spend too much time on pre-relationship issues between Adaline and Ellis way before getting to the main part of the where she met his family. (12/30)
Ad-Campaign (Out of 10 Points)
I don’t think it helped or hurt the movie overall. But the idea of trailers is to drum up excitement and buzz… I don’t think it succeeded here… (5/10)
Total Score: 54/100
Again, i didn’t hate the movie. It has some redeeming qualities and an interesting plot. But a film of this nature could have done so much more!!