THE AGE OF ADALINE, a movie that allows us to view the elegant Blake Lively never age and stun the people of the world for a century of beauty, is releasing tomorrow, Thursday 16th April in Australia. This is a film I was very eager to see from the moment I saw the trailer, it just looks beautiful and heart warming and at the same time intelligent and with meaning. Basically a stunning Hallmark card movie 🙂 And people are raving about Harrison Ford in it – something that the old codger needs, he has done a lot of shit over recent years. As I have been dying for the last month with bronchitis the fantastic Kernel Morgan hit this one up and joined the fine folks from Entertainment One for their media screening the other night. THE AGE OF ADALINE runs for 113mins and is rated M. Enjoy Kernel Morgan’s review…….all the best…….JK.
BY MORGAN BELL
THE AGE OF ADALINE was a delightful film. Blake Lively was enchanting as the central character Adaline. She really does have a timeless face. Through every era – and hats off to the makeup and costume crew – Adaline slots in seamlessly with this classic beauty and an elegance of manner that spans the ages.
Adaline is involved in a near-fatal car accident in the 1930s, aged 29, where her vehicle plunges into deep icy water. The accident gives Adaline the gift of eternal youth. The narrator tells us ‘Adaline Bowman would henceforth be immune to the ravages of time’ and she doesn’t age another day, even when she is 107 years old in current day San Francisco.
At first this film seemed like a bit of a vehicle for dressing up Blake Lively in stunning gowns and outfits. It’s like having a real life barbie doll. Her clothes are so textured and fitted. It’s so sensual with gloves and hats, and deep burgundy lips hiding sadness. It has all the fashion thrills of SEX & THE CITY, CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC, or THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. It is worth watching for the jackets and slinky evening wear alone.
But there’s something beyond the superficial here. There are philosophical questions about love, life, and aging that put this film closer to Charlize Theron in SWEET NOVEMBER (a woman with limited time due to illness, fitting in a series of one month romances before she dies), and Brad Pitt in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (a baby born an old man who ages backwards, sharing only the middle part of his life with his beloved due to the aging barrier).
Adaline has a daughter who gradually grows older than her. Having a mother that never grows up causes the daughter to remain childish, even as an old lady (played with great skill by Ellen Burstyn). Adaline, fearing becoming a curiosity or a specimen, decrees that she must move and change identity every ten years to avoid drawing attention to her eternal youth. She maintains a relationship with her daughter but asks her to only ever refer to her as a friend. And she avoids photos at all cost saying ‘you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all’ to her daughter. Adaline also has a close friend who is blind, they maintain a friendship over many years, the blind friend assuming they have aged at the same rate and are a pair of middle-aged ‘cougars’ when they are at parties together.
Harrison Ford gives a solid performance in this film as a spooked face from the past. Anthony Ingruber is brilliant as a young version of Harrison Ford’s character. Apparently Ingruber is a Ford impersonator. He has the Ford voice down-pat. It is a really nice touch in a film that dips in and out of different times in history.
I didn’t think much of Michiel Huisman as Adaline’s main romantic interest. He was pretty average all round. If you think you recognise the face, he is the replacement actor for the role of Khaleesi’s love interest Daario Naharis in GAME OF THRONES. He is the kind of unassuming actor you can just throw in and hope nobody will notice. Adaline deserved the young Harrison Ford, or at least the old Harrison Ford, someone with a bit of charisma.
THE AGE OF ADALINE has a magic to it, a prettiness, a grace. It explains the lack of aging in Adaline as related to the ‘telomere structure in her genes’ being affected by extreme cold. It turns out telomeres are a real thing that is related to the aging of genes, not necessarily related to the aging of organs or total person, but the scientific explanation, rather than resorting to the supernatural, gives this film a fascinating atmosphere.
What is completely inexplicable is why anyone wouldn’t want to be a perpetually young Blake Lively, with the wisdom and knowledge of a centenarian. It is the dilemma of vampires deal with when living with mortals, but without all the cannibalism. And even within the framework of needing to be on the run from unnamed authorities who may keep her in a lab or a museum, why only ten years per identity, and why not a series of ten year relationships instead of never getting close to anyone ever again? Someone who looks like Blake Lively surely does not want for a suitor.
The film makes some good points with outliving your pets, but that is a reality we all face. Regular humans bury many pets in their lifetimes. The vet gets one of the best lines when he is faced with a dying dog and asked what ‘would you do if you were me?’ He says ‘think about what a wonderful life you’ve had together’. Adaline avoids romantic commitment because no relationship can last as long as she lives. She believes the definition of love is growing old together. It gives pause for reflection on the things we miss out on in life because we are uncompromising on duration.
Through many metaphors with comets and careers and life collisions we come to realise that Adaline is in a state of suspended animation when she’s got nothing but future.