Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amazon Prime Movie Review: The Age of Adaline (2015)

The Age of Adaline movie posterThe Age of Adaline (2015) - Directed by Lee Toland Krieger; Written by J.Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz; Starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Amanda Crew.

By Kenny Howell

At times gorgeous and intriguing, but also frustratingly stupid, The Age of Adaline asks you to take a leap of faith, but never rewards you for going along with it.

It is the story of a woman who, through a bizarre set of scientific mumbo jumbo circumstances, stops aging after a car wreck. It involves hypothermia and a lightning bolt, which triggers some process that won't be discovered until 2035, well after the film is over says the narrator of the film, who reads this as a great novel you read 20 years ago, when in fact this is an original idea.

The woman is Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), who was born just after the turn of the 20th century. She fell in love, had a child, and on a snowy night in Sonoma County, Calif., something that is a bit of anomaly, Bowman loses control on slippery road and crashes into a small pond next to the road. That's where the hypothermia and lightning bolts come in, and that is where Bowman stops aging at the age of 29.



Through the years, she starts to realize that she is not aging, and tries to figure out why by reading books and looking at her face in the mirror while touching it. Not understanding why, she begins to go on the run, staying places for a decade, then moving on again. That of course is not good for her social life, and she must leave many loves behind.

When we meet her, she is in present day working at a library. At a New Year's Eve party, she meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman), a handsome, wealthy young man who instantly falls for her, and starts hitting on her in a nearly predatory way. It's meant to be charming, but a dude can only stop a woman so many times with his hand before you have to tell him to cool it a bit, no matter how cool his hair looks.

Despite his not very good game, they do fall for each other, obviously Adaline does it reluctantly because of her circumstances. However, as things advance, it becomes more complicated, not only because of Adaline's problem, but also because of her past which comes into play.

If you noticed, I didn't even mention Harrison Ford yet. That's because he doesn't come into the film until an hour and 15 minutes in, and it really is when the movie takes off. I won't mention why, because I am treading on spoilery territory, but it is the movie. It is the emotional core, and what we should have gotten to a lot sooner. There are some truly touching moments in the last half of the film, which are somewhat sabotaged by hammy romantic drama gestures, but it pulls you back into the movie.

The look of the film is quite stunning, and not just the attractive stars. The sets and clothes stay classic, like Adaline, and it gives the film a beautiful aesthetic that paints over its faults, like the dialogue that strains so hard to be cute and interesting. Also adding gravitas is the narration of Hugh Ross, mostly because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which he also narrated. All these elements put a nice sheen to the film. Unfortunately, what's underneath isn't quite as impressive.

The Age of Adaline is currently streaming for Amazon Prime members.

Rating: **1/2


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