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|The Age of Adaline
dir Lee Toland Krieger
scr J Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
prd Sidney Kimmel, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg
with Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Lynda Boyd, Hugh Ross, Richard Harmon, Fulvio Cecere, Anjali Jay, Hiro Kanagawa
release US 24.Apr.15, UK 8.May.15
15/US Lionsgate 1h52
Forever young: Huisman and Lively
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
This sweeping romantic drama has an intriguing premise and a solid cast, even if the director and writers play it so seriously that ultimately collapses into sentimentalised silliness. Even without the badly needed humour and irony, the film is entertaining and sometimes moving, almost achieving its strained-for epic tone before the simplistic conclusion.
Adaline (Lively) has been 29 years old since 1933, when a convergence of factors left her unable to age. As 2015 dawns in San Francisco, she has been changing her identity every decade to avoid suspicion, and the only person in on her secret is her now-geriatric daughter Flemming (Burstyn), who thinks she should stop running. So as the charming Ellis (Huisman) doggedly pursues her, she makes the deliberate decision to let herself be caught. Then a weekend trip to visit his parents (Ford and Baker) changes everything.
Lively gives a clever performance as this perpetually young woman with a old soul inside, oozing with charm and intelligence, as well as decades of education. Challenging her to a game of Trivial Pursuit is a very bad idea. Her chemistry with Burstyn is beautifully played by both actors, as is her more lusty connection with Huisman. And Ford delivers a rare dramatic turn that finds an unexpected depth of emotion as the film's plot clanks loudly into gear.
Yes, when things are trundling along revealing things about Adaline's life over the decades, with the help of Ross' omniscient narration, the film is like a box of toys that provides enjoyment with each new discovery. While this woman has had an enviable array of experiences, her loneliness and pain are strongly felt. With just two lasting relationships (with her daughter and her dog), Adaline is likeable and sympathetic, someone we love to identify with even though we're not sure we'd want to be her.
Director Krieger shoots this in a lush style that echoes Adaline's glamorous life in the early 20th century, mixed with God-like camera angles that play up the fatalistic tone. But while the tension for Adaline to lower her guard is strong enough to engage the audience, the writers feel the need to add a more definitive story that derails the entire movie. As a result, the final 20 minutes essentially drag everything into swampy Nicholas Sparks territory, with corny coincidences and overwrought emotions that eliminate the possibility of something thoughtful and complex.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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