Friday, April 24, 2015

The Age of Adaline

The Age of Adaline takes an intriguing premise about a woman who has lived for more than a century, through the rise of women's rights, technological booms, two world wars, and the rise of an Information Age all of which it effectively turns into a Nicholas Sparks trashy romance novel. Blake Lively stars as Adaline Bowman who, through a ridiculous premise of laughable pseudo-science a narrator (Hugh Ross) is needed to help explain, stopped aging and looks the same today as she did in 1929. Hiding for most of her life with only a daughter (Ellen Burstyn) who knows her secret, Adaline sheds her identity every ten years to hide her condition. Preparing for just such a move, Adaline encounters a wealthy artist (Michiel Huisman) and, for the second time in her life, falls in love.

Despite the film's sci-fi set-up neither director Lee Toland Krieger nor screenwriters J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz are interested in exploring the various times and lives Adaline has lived except in the most superficial of ways. It's sad because the film casts an actress that looks at home in a variety of styles and the period set direction (what little we see) is competently done.

Aside from its production the film has little to recommend other than as a vehicle for Lively who does all she can to sell us on the film's premise. (Harrison Ford) steals a couple of moments of his own as the first love of her life who, in a coincidence so contrived it adds new meaning to the word, turns out to have a connection to Adaline's new boy toy. Adaline is the wisest (at least in terms of trivial knowledge that all seems to apply directly to her current life) and most cautious character in the film but her journey during this period of her life is actually quite dull where any problems that do come about will all work themselves out in short order and a minimum of fuss.

Turning into a sloppy romance drama, the film introduces various ideas such as a group chasing Adaline (government agents? Nazi scientists? private entrepreneurs?) for the secret of her immortality and the trouble Ford's character finds himself in from his wife (Kathy Baker) when Adaline is reintroduced to his life decades later. Relying heavily on coincidence at timing, chance, and an insane amount of good luck Adaline quickly devolves into a syrupy-sweet love story that never takes into account the logistics of her condition or how awkward it would be for a woman to have carnal knowledge of both a father and son for all parties concerned.

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