A film for the ages
Although many films attempt to tackle the subject of immortality, from overdone supernatural romances to modern day class, the film Age of Adaline, directed by Lee Toland Krieger, who brings a fresh, down to earth portrayal of ever lasting life. Audiences witness the life of Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), who through a series of fantastic circumstances has remained 29-year-old for eight decades. Adeline’s life is veiled in secrecy, until she encounters Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman), a man who draws out her passion for life and is unknowingly a link to her past.
The Age of Adaline is wonderfully original, portraying an intellectual and stimulating outlook on a timeless topic through a real life investigative scenario with just a touch of the supernatural. With an extremely grounded storyline, the plot unfolds organically, without pretense or any more excess than is essential to the film’s premise. Even with the elements of fantasy, the film has the ability to juxtapose romantic aspects with some necessary cheese without sacrificing the primary storyline. The film’s highly stylized approach with nuance and superb cinematography contributes greatly to the delivery of a beautiful romance. Although the film does contain some of the conventional romance drama trappings of sappiness and inevitable tragedy, this tale contains the bitter sweetness needed to move beyond the syrupy elements and distinguish itself from other films in the category.
Another notable feat of this film is the complex and exceptionally created script. The heart touching, and oftentimes-poetic script, allows viewers to understand the enormity of Adaline’s story, and provides some of the best discussion points in recent cinema. Leaving no emotion unchecked, the screenplay allows the audience to experience Adaline’s heartache, struggle and determination firsthand, fueling the interest and engagement of viewers. Resisting the temptation of including to many hints about Adaline’s story and any unnecessary clutter, the script simply serves its function: transforming a romantic fantasy to seem almost plausible and extremely relatable. Geared toward a culture obsessed with appearance, this film also does the unthinkable, and shows audience how youthfulness and immortality can be a curse.
Proving to be more than a superficial romance, The Age of Adaline is a philosophical journey packaged with depth and meaning. Perhaps one of the only drawbacks of this film was the narration, which although helped the audience understand Adaline’s story, sometimes became a little too wordy and elaborate. The method used to divulge the backstory is creative, but not very well edited with unnecessary and drawn out aspects. Nevertheless, this error is minor and can go unnoticed behind the well-created film. Blake Lively, mainly known from her work Gossip Girl, has proven as she that she is capable of portraying characters with more depth than her previous roles. With her classical look characteristic of the different eras her character lives through, Lively is physically perfect for the role. However, she also provides and unflinching and spectacular performance, capturing a women who has old soul inside a body that is forever youthful. In addition, the relationship between her and her daughter Flemming, played by Cate Richardson and then later by Ellen Burstyn, are very entertaining and at the same time very emotional. Both Richardson and Burstyn give stunning and convincing performances and serve as excellent counterparts with Lively. Also giving a remarkable performance was Michiel Huisman as Ellis, providing both the necessary heat and chemistry with Lively and the strong emotional depth.
The other supporting characters gave a strong chain of performances, adding necessary intensity to the story. Furthermore, the visuals including the costumes, the sets, the special effects, and cinematography is executed brilliantly, effectively synthesizing the mood of the time periods Adaline experiences. The musical score is compelling, but subtle, in accordance with the film’s attempts at humor. The very distinctive style of the movie is a refreshing throwback to the earlier era style of Hollywood movies, which perfectly flows with the storyline and the film’s intent. Overall, The Age of Adaline is a well written, terrifically acted, beautifully conceived film that not only tells a fascinating and original story, but will also spark the mind and touch the heart.