If I had all the years ahead,
My future stretching infinite,
I’d laugh at death and waste my breath
And take my time to start and quit
And eat more than I would admit.
No matter what the daily rut,
I’d rarely worry with my glut
Of days and decades in reserve,
For patience straightens every curve
And makes all roads a new shortcut.
Or so I think….
As days and decades further sink
Into the endless stream I cross,
Along with friends and love that ends,
This gift may be an albatross.
Who wants an eternity of loss?
MPAA rating: PG-13 (could even be PG)
The Age of Adaline is the kind of film that I knew I would enjoy based solely on the trailer and the ingenious title with a double meaning. I love films that follow one character through decades of drama, and The Age of Adaline does so with a fantasy twist reminiscent of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Winter’s Tale. As the opening narration explains, Adaline Bowman lived a normal life in the early 1900s, full of the typical joys and sorrows, but an accident that should have killed her instead gave her inexplicable longevity. She never ages past her original 29 years, and while many women would consider that a blessing, it feels more and more like a curse as the decades pass, friends and family get older, the world changes, and she doesn’t.
Blake Lively was the perfect choice for Adaline, embodying both World War II-era and modern-day elegance and giving the audience an essential glimpse into her emotional state. A tear-jerking look-back at all the dogs she has owned over the decades was a brilliant way to help us understand her magnified grief. Flashbacks are used to good effect with the same purpose, clarifying why Adaline is always on the run from potential love interests and anyone who might catch on to her secret…that is, until she meets the charismatic Ellis (Michiel Huisman) and the familiar William (Harrison Ford).
The Age of Adaline fulfills its fantastical, romantic purpose with a sophisticated polish, both in the big picture and the details. (Anthony Ingruber as a young William was scarily good with his Harrison Ford impression. Look at him in the picture above; why isn’t he being considered for that Han Solo spinoff?) Unfortunately, the film does slip on occasion, specifically when Adaline’s “miracle” takes place, the narrator giving some hogwash about an undiscovered trait of DNA that freezes the aging process. Groundhog Day didn’t try to explain Bill Murray’s time loop, nor did Benjamin Button spell out Brad Pitt’s backwards aging. They didn’t have to, and The Age of Adaline’s attempt to explain the unexplainable falls flat, I’m afraid. In addition, the emotions at play aren’t as deeply wrought as in similar films, and I couldn’t help but feel that I’d seen the final scene of hopefulness somewhere else before.
My VC and I have similar tastes for this genre, and she enjoyed it too, sort of, saying afterward, “It was a great movie, except it’s ridiculous.” Blame the pseudo-science I mentioned earlier for that, but the “great movie” part still remains, thanks in large part to the outstanding performances across the board. Sometimes when a film is my kind of movie, I can forgive and even ignore its faults. The Age of Adaline fits that bill, and my expectations were met.
Best line: (Ellis) “You know they have a saying in Italy. ‘Anni, amori, e bicchieri di vino, no che contato mai.'”
(Adaline) “Years, lovers… wine cups?”
(Ellis) “Years, lovers, and glasses of wine. These are things that should never be counted.”
(Adaline) “You have no idea.”
© 2016 S.G. Liput
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