The Age of Adaline (***) Does the job on a Sunday afternoon

adaline

The Age of Adaline – 2015

Director Lee Toland Krieger
Screenplay J. Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
Starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn

In the grand scheme of things, I will not remember this movie in 5 years. It’s not because it’s a bad film, though. Romantic films aren’t my thing, really. It may last longer in my synapses if it were particularly bad. It’s a good film, though. Worth the time to spend, especially if you are with someone who appreciates the genre.

Blake Lively spent much of her early career being the best thing to look at on a horrible show (Gossip Girl) as well as one of The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants. I don’t remember her on that movie, maybe because I don’t remember anything about that movie other than it starred America Ferrera. The press made sure to let us know that she’s the one for whom Ryan Reynolds left Scarlett Johansson, who was the one for whom he left Alanis Morissette.

So I approached this film knowing it had to do with Blake Lively living through many ages. Something one can count on as time passes and a beautiful woman doesn’t age: she will look fabulous in many different styles. No letdown there.

Adaline Bowman is the first child born in 1908. She lives a relatively normal life until one night in the 1930’s when she gets in a freak accident that stops her life and then, a couple of minutes later, restarts it. I would explain it more, but it’s really inconsequential to enjoying the story. From that point on, Adaline ceases to age. Her husband had already died, but her young daughter passes her age and keeps right on going. Adaline doesn’t get to spend as much time with her as she’d hoped, as the paranoia of the 1950’s pushed her into a pattern of moving every 10 years, to keep ahead of the Feds, who want to make her an X-file.

The impressive thing about Blake Lively is that in the body of such a beautiful woman, she comes through as the literal picture of an old soul. It’s little things, such as the way she keeps her hair, the way she pauses before speaking, that let the viewer know that she’s lived long enough to get past any impulses and think a painful long-term game. She has mastered several languages as well as the art of human observation, but she is not ostentatious in the slightest. Lively presents her case convincingly and with much grace.

Ellen Burstyn does a convincing job as her aging daughter and their interactions feel plausible. The key here is tenderness and both actresses have that in spades.

Harrison Ford has an interesting turn as one of her former loves. The role he has in her life when this story takes place I will not say, even if it really shouldn’t be a surprise. Seeing him play vulnerable is a new twist. Maybe I should have watched Regarding Henry after all.

Her current love interest, Ellis, is about what one would expect in a Lifetime movie special. He is handsome with no quirks. A face that’s nearly perfect. It’s just the kind of guy at whom a woman who is 107 would not look twice. Maybe she likes him on Game of Thrones as Daario. The second one, not the first one who is The Transporter Refueled guy now.

There are no spectacular camera angles, no great one liners or even an overwhelmingly memorable theme to this movie. Somewhere in Time, it is not. It is a good film, though, on the lilting grace of Lively’s deep, thoughtful gaze, and her refusal to wear her hair in the current style, but not so obviously out of date, either. Except for that time in the 60’s.

(*** out of *****)

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