Every once in awhile a film will come up and surprise me. And today, that film is “The Age of Adaline.” When I saw the previews in theaters, I thought it could turn out to be a mediocre film like “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” However, “The Age of Adaline” is one of the best romances that I have seen in quite sometime, trumping “The Notebook,” in my opinion.
For starters, Blakey Lively is engaging and beautiful, making this her best performance to date. From the moment you set eyes on her and listen to the narrative, you want to get to know her and be with her. Then, there is the supporting performance from Harrison Ford, which turns out to be quite spectacular. He plays one of Adaline’s past lovers, but he has aged, while she hasn’t. Interesting, right?
So the story begins with introducing Adaline (Lively). Adaline lives in present day, San Francisco in an apartment with her dog. She works for the archives at the library and makes no time for stead relationships. The reason is because Adaline is really 107, but she looks 29. This is because one day, a long time ago, Adaline was on the way to pick up her daughter Flemming when it started to snow in California. This made driving difficult for Adaline, and she ended up going off a bridge into a body of water. At first, she was dead, but then a bolt of lightning hit the car and brought Adaline back to life, stopping the aging process as well during the strike. So for years, Adaline would walk around with her aging daughter, and people who recognized her would start to wonder what the hell is going on. Even the FBI tries to go after Adaline, but she manages to escape them.
Going back to present day, Adaline still has her daughter, who looks like she could be Adaline’s grandmother (played by the fantastic Ellen Burstyn). She is the only one who knows of Adaline’s secret and must continue to play along with the charade of Adaline’s new identities. Currently, Adaline is Jenny when she is out and about. To complicate things even more, she meets Ellis (played by Michiel Huisman) at a New Year’s Eve party, and he falls madly in love with her. Adaline of course wants nothing to do with him, since she is planning to run away to a different state again. Still, he doesn’t give up, and the two of them end up going on a couple of dates.
As the days go on, Adaline is almost ready to run away, but when her dog dies, she decides to confide in Flemming. Adaline is tired of running away and not having a life, even though she has lived for 107 years. Flemming suggests then maybe it’s time to stop running. This prompts Adaline to try her advice and go with Ellis to meet his family.
When Adaline and Ellis arrive at his family’s home, Adaline is first greeted by his mother, Kathy (played by Kathy Baker), and then a familiar name, William Jones (Ford). William is confused, staring at Adaline and remembering that she use to be his one true love. But Adaline corrects him and tells him that Adaline was her mother, and she just happens to look exactly like her. William gives in because how in the world could Adaline still look the same, right?
Well, the film goes on to William figuring out the secret, and Adaline making a choice to run from Ellis or stay and start living. It’s truly a wonderful romantic drama, thanks to the presence of Blake Lively in the starring role. She is elegant, poised and breathtaking in this role. Then, you bring in Harrison Ford for the real punch, and he gives one of his best performances since the late 80s/early 90s.
In the director’s chair for this film is Lee Toland Krieger (“Celeste & Jesse Forever”). I haven’t seen any of his previous films, but I have to say there is something about his direction that added to this film’s intrigue. Then, the cinematography David Lanzenberg is something special as well. Sure, he won’t be nominated for his Oscar, but it sure is some of the best cinematography that I have seen in a film of this nature.
Finally, the screenplay J. Mills Goodloe (“The Best of Me”) and Salvador Paskowitz is solid, even if does have its flaws at times. For example, the ending was a little rushed for me, and I felt like the reaction from a certain situation was not strong enough. That was one of my complaints. Also, I would have liked to have seen more development between Adaline and Flemming today. I mean, the poor lady as watch her mother go through life without aging while she looks like she could be Adaline’s grandmother. I feel like that would be a tough and tense situation.
Overall, “The Age of Adaline” is surprise for 2015. It’s interesting, dramatic, romantic and well acted. Thanks to Blake Lively, she brings the character to life and keeps us wanting more from her unordinary life. Rated PG-13.