HOLLYWOOD—Its not quite easy to categorize “The Age of Adaline.” Upon first glance, I immediately considered it to be a timeless romance, but upon seeing the movie, it’s a romantic fantasy of sorts. The movie stars Blake Lively as Adaline Bowman, a woman who seems obsessed with the notion of staying young.
This is an important theme throughout the movie, but also resonates well in the real-world. To some degree we all fear aging. I’ll be the first to admit it, when you’re 20 it seems young, but when you turn 30 you start to sense, I’m not young anymore, which is something our protagonist grapples with.
The opening of the film presents a bit of a mystery to the audience as we discover Adaline hasn’t aged a bit since being involved in a freak car accident that allows her to remain at the tender age of 29. I thought it was neat that the movie focused on that age. It says you’re still young, you’re mature, but you haven’t hit that age where people consider you old. She had the perfect life, but when she realizes that everyone around her is aging and she isn’t, it drivers her to investigate her predicament.
The movie transitions a bit to a thriller, as Adaline finds more suitors attempting to capture her, but she manages to outwit them. She soon discovers the only way to ensure her livelihood is to keep running, which she does by taking on a new identity each decade. This results in our protagonist bidding farewell to her daughter, and the life that she had become accustomed to.
Things transition to romance when Adaline meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman) who does his best to court her. Their relationship has ups and downs, particularly when a man from Adaline’s past William Jones (Harrison Ford) reappears in her life. She does her best to grapple with the past, as it becomes evident this ‘mystery’ person knows a bit more about her that Adaline is willing to acknowledge.
This is a film that presents a narrative in a way that is somewhat fascinating; I really can’t recall a movie that brought attention to the notion of morality in a way that wasn’t depressing. We see a woman do her best to stay true to her character, but having to compromise her happiness to do it, even if it means leaving those who are dear to her behind.
Lively is perfect casting in the role, not just because of her exceptional beauty she brings to the character, but because of the charm and poise she infuses to our title character. She is anything, but one note. What works well is that instead of tackling such a complicated film in the present day, the movie utilizes decades from the past and the present to weave the pacing. I never felt bored watching the film, if anything I was quite enthralled trying to see how things would end. Will the audience get the happily ever after, or perhaps the gloom and doom that so many of us expect?
“The Age of Adaline” sheds light on something that we all fear, even if we refuse to acknowledge it: death is something that is promised to all of us. You can’t predict the future, but you can live each day as if it’s your last.