‘Adaline’ is not a romance for the ages
By Bob Bloom
“The Age of Adaline” is a romantic soap opera, bookended by some science fiction gobbledygook, expounded by a tedious narrator who sounds as if he is auditioning for a PBS “Nova” special.
The story is about a woman who stopped aging after being revived by a lightning strike after what should have been a fatal car accident.
Basically, she remains 29 for about 80 years.
Time for the audience, however, seems to pass as slowly as it does for Adaline. At 110 minutes, “Age of Adaline” mostly feels like an eternity.
By choice, Adaline’s life is rather solitary. Her main contact is with her daughter, who eventually looks old enough to be her grandmother.
In the 1950s, the FBI grabbed Adaline supposedly to run some tests on her. She escaped from them and it seems the agency lost interest because they never appear again.
The incident simply was a deus ex machina to keep Adaline on the run and continually changing identities.
Blake Lively plays Adaline, and she is breathtaking. Unfortunately, her looks are all she has going for her. If the scriptwriters had invested more in her character, the film would have been much better.
But Adaline lacks any real personality; sometimes she’s witty and wise. Other times she is naïve and unsophisticated. Her actions change with the whims of the plot.
Except for her beauty, she fails to show any consistency.
What eventually saves “Adaline” from being tossed on the cinema trash heap is the appearance of Harrison Ford about two-thirds of the way through.
Like Han Solo, he appears at the crucial moment to save “The Age of Adaline” and offer it some sparks of life and gravitas.
It would be a spoiler to say more about Ford’s role. But just watching his emotional turmoil and surprise at seeing Adaline speaks volumes.
Lively is lovely, but her acting lacks the necessary depth to make the story believable. An actress with more reach — Keira Knightley or Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps — probably would have made more decisive choices regarding Adaline’s character.
Lively does bring a vulnerability to Adaline, and she creates a modicum of sympathy for her predicament, but it is all surface sheen.
It doesn’t help that director Lee Toland Krieger dresses Adaline in a fabulous wardrobe and very stylish hair-dos for every decade. This defeats Adaline’s purpose of trying not to call attention to herself.
“The Age of Adaline” provides an intriguing premise that is wasted on a formulaic and clichéd potboiler romance.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
THE AGE OF ADALINE
2 stars out of 4
(PG-13), language, sexual situations