Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) was born in 1908. Her husband died in a construction accident after their daughter, Flemming (Ellen Burstyn), was born. A year later, Adaline was in a car accident that should have killed her. Due to unique circumstances, Adaline not only survived the crash, but has stopped aging, instead remaining a beautiful 29 years old.
As time passes, Adaline is often asked about how she stays so young-looking. She brushes off the questions by saying it is a new face cream, or some other dismissing answer. As people start to catch on that there is no way she could stay looking so young, Adaline realizes that she must stay on the move to avoid suspicion. Every decade, she moves to a new location and assumes a new identity. She avoids relationships to keep her secret. Flemming is the only one who knows.
At the age of 107, Adaline meets Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman). Ellis relentlessly pursues Adaline, until she finally agrees to go on a date with him. As Ellis and Adaline’s relationship gets more serious, Ellis takes her to meet his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker). During the visit, Adaline’s life quickly unravels.
On the surface, The Age of Adaline is a unique concept. Something rare in movies today. It is not an entirely new idea, however. The movie is strikingly similar to the television show Forever. Forever chronicles the life of a man who survived an incident which should have killed him. Like Adaline, the protagonist is given the gift/curse of immortality. He, too, must regularly move to new locations and assume new identities to avoid being discovered. The only person who knows his secret, his son, who is now much older than he is.
The narrative is told as a newsreel type voice over. We are given behind the scenes detail, sometimes told in excruciating detail, the what, how, and why for everything on the screen. It works well, overall, as it fits with the time Adaline spends reviewing news footage while working at a library. However, my biggest complaint with this is that they give a major spoiler two minutes into the movie.
Any time you add Harrison Ford to a movie, you instantly take it up a level. (Aside from that one Indiana Jones movie, but we’ll pretend that never happened.) This movie is no different. Blake Lively doesn’t disappoint, either. She has a timeless beauty that plays well against the backdrop of the film. She sells the character of Adaline, who must resist all personal connections to hide her secret, never giving her a chance to really live.
Perhaps what bothered me most about the film was the reaction, or rather, the lack thereof, by Ellis as the story unfolds. There should have been a moment of disbelief and/or disgust at the events around him. Other than that, it is a decent film. It probably isn’t for everyone, but as far as romantic dramas go, you could definitely do worse than The Age of Adaline.
You can watch the trailer here.