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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Movie Review - The Age of Adaline

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

There have been several reviews in the past year (and there are some more to come) where I espouse how much I appreciate films that embrace a 1950s style of filmmaking where foul language is kept to a minimum, sex scenes are understated and chaste, and the story itself feels as if it could be planted in that era without any issues.  The Age of Adaline is one such film -- a film made for adults that you can watch with your grandmother and both enjoy the same amount.  That may seem odd praise, but I think it takes a special touch to make these types of films come off well, not seeming too silly for the modern viewer.  Color me surprised, but The Age of Adaline was a rather lovely film that despite its somewhat ludicrous premise won me over with its 1950s aesthetic.

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) was born on January 1, 1908 at 12:01am.  At age 21, she married her husband and three years later, she gave birth to a baby girl they named Fleming.  In 1937, her husband died in an accident while building the Golden Gate Bridge and ten months later, during a freak snowstorm in Sonoma County, California, Adaline runs off the road while driving her car and falls into frigid water.  Her breathing stopped instantly and her heartbeat slowed and eventually stopped.  Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck the vehicle and the charge defibrillated her heart, allowing Adaline to crawl out of the water.  She continued to live her life, but soon realized that thanks to the bolt of lightning, she was immune to the ravages of time and will never age another day.  As her daughter continues to age (played by Ellen Burstyn in the modern era), Adaline finds that she needs to always run away from people as her lack of aging makes it impossible to stay in one place for a long period of time without folks beginning to question things.

In the present, Adaline has returned to San Francisco, working as a library assistant.  There, she meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman) who instantly falls for her only to find his infatuation unreturned by Adaline.  In what she'd certainly consider a moment of weakness after decades of keeping love at a distance, Adaline spends the night with Ellis and begins to realize that she's missed the human connection that love brings, but she's unsure how to proceed due to her condition.

While there's certainly a suspension of disbelief one must embrace in order to buy into The Age of Adaline, the story hooked me and I was willing to go along for the ride.  Director Lee Toland Krieger has aesthetically created a film that embraces old school romance and charm and his cast gamely jumps on the bandwagon.  Blake Lively is good as the title character although there is part of me that wonders if a slightly more experienced actress could've added a little more depth to Adaline.  I'm not meaning that to be a dig against Lively who I'm admittedly not familiar with as an actress as she succeeds in carrying this film, but I did find myself pondering a different actress in the role.  Harrison Ford is also quite good here in a rather small role as Ellis's father who finds himself questioning Adaline's story.

The Age of Adaline is never going to win any awards - nor should it - but that's no reason not to give this one a go.  This one never was tops on my list of flicks to watch, but I'm quite pleased that I gave this a chance as it's rather lovely and surprisingly enjoyable.

The RyMickey Rating:  B

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