The Age of Adaline (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

The Age of Adaline (2015)  Directed by Lee Toland Krieger. With Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Kathy Baker and Ellen Burstyn. 

the age of adaline1

I’m not as well versed in the genre of romantic-fantasy as I would like, but as they go, I suspect The Age of Adaline is a good one. Co-written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz under the direction of Lee Toland Krieger, the film stars Blake Lively as Adaline Bowman, a beautiful woman who loses the ‘ability’ to age. Of course, the idea of immortality is an attractive prospect to many of us, but what about loved ones?…what about love? 

The cinematography by David Lanzenberg boasts a luxurious quality, which seems to reflect the sophisticated elegance of Adaline herself. In Blake Lively, who until this film, is best-known for her role in TV’s Gossip Girl, the film has an intriguing leading presence. Adaline isn’t cold at heart, but feels like she’s been given an open-ended life sentence by the curse of her eternal youth, which forces her to appear aloof. On top of that, she carries fear and paranoia about the ‘powers that be’ discovering her secret. They say that youth is wasted on the young, which, is certainly the case with Adaline.

As the story unfolds, we learn more and more about Adaline’s past, as she struggles to keep her secret amid falling in love and being reunited with an old flame. The course of true love never runs smoothly…and it can sometimes cross paths.

About halfway through, the presence of Harrison Ford lifts the film to another level. Ford’s face is familiar to us all, and sometimes big movie stars can inadvertently take you out of a piece like this, but he’s excellent – reminding us that beneath the movie star, there’s a quality actor who has improved with age.

From an audience perspective, Adaline’s distanced demeanour makes her an awkward character to engage with, even though we’re privy to her secret. As a by-product, her coldness rubs off on the overall feel of the film, as a marked feeling of being kept at arms length seeps in. It’s unfair to hold the film responsible for this, as ultimately, its heart is in the right place, as it seeks to say things about the precious nature of life. Death is universal, but so is love. 3.5/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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14 Responses to The Age of Adaline (2015) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Jay says:

    I only watched this movie because a) I was on a plane and b)I was returning from San Francisco, where this film is mostly set. I was kind of bored by it, but I do agree that Ford was the highlight – surprised me, actually, but he stole scenes.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Ford the movie star gives way to Ford the actor, and it’s wonderful. I understand it not gripping you, but while I wouldn’t say I was engrossed, the performances went a long way to helping me care. I’d like to see more prominent roles for Kathy Baker in films too.

  2. Lloyd Marken says:

    I’m a big Harrison Ford fan-you have my attention.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I hate the term ‘chick flick’, but I suspect this will fall squarely into that lazy category (aren’t all categories lazy??). Harrison is really great here. Even if you’re not enjoying the movie, once he turns up, you certainly will. 🙂

  3. Nice review I hope this one comes in my country. It did not yet that is too bad because I heard it is a good film.

  4. Dan O. says:

    Liked this so much more than I expected to. Nice review Gareth.

  5. This movie surprised me a lot actually. I didn’t think much of Blake Lively before this movie but, after this, I’m highly impressed with her as an actress. I think she did a great job simulating the demeanour of an elderly woman – she falls short at times but the majority of her performance is quality. I also really enjoyed the story (but I am a sucker for romcoms). I liked the approach in the building of the love story between the two leads. Adaline definitely has a cold exterior and seeing how Ellis broke it down was interesting.

    • garethrhodes says:

      I suspect this is one of those films that the people embrace, but that the critics don’t get. It has heart and some good things to say, although perhaps its luxurious gloss could cause some distance between us normal folks and the perfect-looking people.

  6. Saw this film the other day. Loved it

    • garethrhodes says:

      I’m glad to hear you had that reaction to it. I tend to avoid reviews until after I’ve seen a film, and was surprised to see how many of the critics took a disliking to it. I think it works well.

      • To be fair I save the reviews until I’ve seen the films to. I did the same with your review of San Andreas and when I get my film magazine I fold the corners of the pages of reviews for films I like the look of and read them when I get back from the cinema if I’m going to see them

      • garethrhodes says:

        Wise move. I find that if I listen to another person’s opinion before I’ve formed my own, I can tend to be influenced by what I see/read. Of course, once I’ve seen a film, I LOVE to read reviews and learn the perspectives of others. 🙂

      • Same. I love to compare. Although I can never help but worry they’re going to absolutely hate the film and then I’ll be less keen to see it

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