A blend of romance, fantasy and drama, The Age of Adaline is the story of Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), who is born in 1908 but becomes immune to the ‘ravages of time’ after an accident in 1935. In other words, Adaline stays 29 even as the world around her keeps changing. The film narrates Adaline’s personal struggles to come to terms with this miraculous bestowal and a decision that can change everything forever.
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger (Celeste and Jesse Forever) and written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, The Age of Adaline makes for some fine storytelling. Sprinkled with Krieger’s signature miracles and fantasy sparkles, the film manages to portray love and longing with much grace.
Blake Lively’s persona is well suited for Adaline Bowman. Perhaps, that’s what makes her play the character with ease. The cast does justice to their characters. In fact, the actors could have done an even better job had there been more to the story. And that’s the flip side of this film. It lacks enough content to make for a solid feature film. For instance, Adaline’s love interest Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) seems bland, a place-filler for the romantic void in Adaline’s life. A few more layers to the characters, especially Adaline’s, could have made the film more interesting.
When you know the premise of a film through its trailer, you have a fair idea about what’s going to unfurl on the screen. Good films add a surprise, a twist or even well-directed insight above and beyond the ‘fair idea’. Unfortunately, The Age of Adaline is just what you would expect. There isn’t much beyond the trailer itself. Immortality and age-defying occurrences can make for gripping fantasy stories or touching dramas; there is very little of both in this film.
What certainly must be commended are the costumes and set designs. Angus Strathie (costume designer) skillfully maintains the elegance and verve through the film. His work certainly helps make Adaline’s character look consistent.
Ellen Burstyn, in an affable and natural performance, plays Adaline’s daughter, Flemming. It’s Burstyn’s off-screen persona wonderfully blending in with her on-screen presence that ultimately creates a lovable personality; you immediately like the character.
The Age of Adaline does not have much novelty to offer. Yet, in spite of its share of clichés, the film can be a moderately good watch for its smooth storytelling and natural performances.
THE REEL SCORE: 5/10