The Age of Adaline (2015)

The Age of Adaline (2015)
  • Time: 140 min
  • Genre: Drama | Romance
  • Director: Lee Toland Krieger
  • Cast: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn


After miraculously remaining 29 years old for almost eight decades, Adaline Bowman has lived a solitary existence, never allowing herself to get close to anyone who might reveal her secret. But a chance encounter with charismatic philanthropist Ellis Jones reignites her passion for life and romance. When a weekend with his parents threatens to uncover the truth, Adaline makes a decision that will change her life forever.


  • I’m not sure where to start with this movie, or how exactly I feel about it. Throughout the film I kept trying to look for a deeper meaning or message the film was trying to push, but it just ends up being a very average love story where the supporting cast is much better than the star.

    Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) was born in 1908, but due to a freak accident involving snow, freezing water and lightning, she somehow loses the ability to age, not just superficially, but all her organs remain intact as well. On New Years Eve 2014, she meets a handsome man by the name of Ellis (Michiel Huisman) who falls for her. Adaline is torn between her attraction to Ellis and the fact that she knows she will never age as long as they are together.

    It takes quite a while for this film’s plot to get moving into territory where actual events take place. The majority of the first act is made up of conveniently placed flashbacks describing how Adaline got her bizarro powers, all triggered by a newsreel she watches at the San Francisco Public Library where she works. I feel as though these flashbacks were used up all too quickly at the beginning and instead of using them as reveals throughout the film, we are shown others that seem like they were hastily put together and shoehorned in. These are narrated by Hugh Ross, who also narrated The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, and his inclusion to me seems like director Lee Toland Krieger was somehow trying to elevate this film to something it isn’t.

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  • The Age Of Adaline takes a used idea and by simply telling the story, makes it works.

    I went to this movie with some trepidation. It seemed to have the same plot as the TV series Forever. I was right and I was wrong. Yes, it’s has a character who doesn’t age and has a child who looks like her grandmother. No, there aren’t outside complications to get in the way of a simple story that proved to be affective.
    J. Mills Goodbe and Salvador Paskowitz have written a script that does something wrong but it works. Usually when a voice over just feeds the audience exposition it’s boring. This sequence in the beginning could have been edited some but it is supported nicely since Adaline is viewing, as part of her work, old news reels which interspersed actual footage of events in real life with the events in hers, the whole thing placed her in a time that then allowed us to see how long she’d been around. The script isn’t filled with wouldn’t-it-be-funny-if… complications and sticks to how she lives her life.
    Director Lee Toland Krieger has picked urban locations where a person could easily be lost and rural locations that are lush, where you might want to get lost. He also doesn’t drag the story with unnecessary lingering. He gets on with the story, which is good because the story is, ultimately, rather plain and not terribly complicated.
    The title character, Adaline, is played Blake Lively with a determined, this-is-the-way-it-must-be attitude until her whole world is thrown off. Lively’s Adaline is gentle but not giving an inch. It’s nice seeing a pretty woman in a film who isn’t just set dressing. Michiel Huisman plays Ellis Jones, the romantic lead for Lively. He too plays his character with gentle determination. When two equals meet you end up waiting to see which one is going to make the wrong move or buckle under the other’s pressure, gentle though it may be. Here, it creates a dynamic that works very well in creating tension as the plot advances. It’s not until the very end that you can be sure how it’s going to end.
    Ellen Burstyn, who has done this before, plays Adeline’s child, Flemming, and, of course, there’s the role reversal because of the assumed age. Burstyn is one of our best actors and I always look forward to her performances. The same can be said for Kathy Baker who plays Kathy, Ellis’s mother, and doesn’t have all that much to do but does it with complete believably. Harrison Ford plays William, Ellis’s father with just the right mix of confusion and anger because of what he believes has happened.
    I give this movie 3 1/2 cute dogs out of 4. A film is nothing without a good story, as you might have noticed in some action movies. In The Age Of Adaline the story is all and everyone works toward telling it well.

  • In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt’s title character ages in reverse. In 2015’s The Age of Adaline (my latest review), Blake Lively’s title character doesn’t well, age at all. There’s a resemblance between the two vehicles. Both of them have a gimmick (“Adaline” contains the concept of stasis while “Button” contains the concept of backward countenance), both of them are in a sense, whimsical, and both have an olden-like film score. But “Adaline” is Benjamin Button buttoned down. It contains a story that is discombobulated yet still reeks of obviousness. Pitt’s 2008 Oscar nominee also had its share of obvious moments. But at a running time of nearly three hours, it stayed its course. The Age of Adaline (clocking in at about an hour and fifty minutes) turns idle while it slugs its way towards the second half. This isn’t quite the fictional, Shaky Town treat if you know what I mean.

    Now don’t get me wrong, “Adaline” renders itself strong in certain areas. You have the perfect casting of Blake Lively, the cinematography channeling elegance to the nth degree, sights and sounds triggering echos from an old ballroom, and effective editing screaming “cut to action.” You also sadly, get to experience crocodile trembling from Harrison Ford (overacting is another way of putting it), out of place narration masked as science lecture, and puzzle piece coincidences. The real star of this flick is the city of San Francisco (a locale that is used brilliantly here). Its breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge and hovering downtown however, don’t do enough to garner my recommendation.

    Directed by virtual unknown Lee Toland Krieger and set in present day (despite veritable flashbacks happening throughout), The Age of Adaline chronicles a woman of superior grace named Adaline Bowman (Lively). She’s an archivist who works in a library and harbors a secret that only her daughter knows about (Flemming played by Ellen Burstyn). You see Adaline is about 107 years old yet looks as though she’s in her late twenties. She’s unaware of how this happened but we as the audience have a clue (based on the annoying narration that interrupts the film as though it’s an unwanted party guest). A long time ago, this woman was in a brutal car accident. After surviving it, the aspect of aging was something her body refused to do. Lively’s character then lives the next eight decades in a lie. She changes her identity, separates herself from her daughter (as mentioned earlier), alludes the FBI who question who she really is (and want to capture her as a specimen), and breaks some hearts along the way (a father fails to propose to her in the 1960’s and his son subsequently falls in love with her circa 2014).

    Now the storytelling from the onset of “Adaline”, is of the highest order. However, as its running time dissipates, you start to get into “where is this all heading towards” territory. The film’s contrivance carries things for so long until the plot finally runs out of steam. The big reveal comes and Adaline reluctantly gets into another car accident (spoiler alert). As this happens, she begins to age again and finally live a normal life (it would take me another paragraph to explain why so watch the movie and you’ll get the gist of what I’m talking about).

    Dramatic weirdness aside, some critics have noted that the main protagonist featured, is a standoffish principal, a lady who is sort of cold and reserved. They coined this notion as negative meaning that it sort of hurts the film in general. I agreed wholeheartedly until chatting with an audience member via a screening in Rosemont, Illinois. This person made a good point in saying that Adaline had to be this way. She needn’t get too close to people or become attached because of her condition. Regardless, Blake Lively plays said centenarian magnificently. It’s her look with old world hairstyles and outfits that seems perfected. It’s her persona that stands tall with Forest Gumpian flavor. Finally, it’s the mannerisms she brings to the role that suggest that she is in fact, a stoic human being (who’s lived a long life). With every eye glance, every head turn, and every mild voice alteration, Lively conveys old and wise. Talk about a revelation in genre acting.

    Note to self: (Spoiler alert number two) I initially thought it was creepy when Adaline slept with her love interest being Ellis Jones (played by Michiel Huisman who looks like a cross between Shia Labeouf and Eric Bana). I mean she obviously looked young but you can’t have hormones past the age of 100 right? Again, I was corrected by my knowledgeable audience member from the last paragraph. I was informed that Adaline had stasis issues. Her body was still stuck in the same equilibrium meaning that only time had passed, not the lacking of a sex drive.

    In conclusion, The Age of Adaline doesn’t succeed in getting the tear ducts flowing. It does however, provide the perfect platform to showcase Blake Lively’s strengths as an actress. It gives Tarzana’s chosen one the chance to let the screen love her and then let her love it right back. In the first hour of the proceedings, she peers into the camera as a blond, starry-eyed starlet. She then says softly, “let go”. How can I. This for me, is modernized, Golden Age of Hollywood stuff. Dare I say that it could have been so much better.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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  • Adaline Bowman is a curious case. First seen making her way across present-day San Francisco to obtain forged identification documents, she is counting down the weeks until she and her beloved dog move to a farmhouse in Oregon to start yet another new life. This is not the first time Adaline has had to pull up roots, nor is it the first time she has had to assume another identity. In fact, she has been running away for the past 60 years.

    You see, Adaline is not as she appears. As a narrator (Hugh Ross) informs us, Adaline was the first baby born when the clock struck midnight and the year 1908 began. By the time she was 29, she was a widow with a young daughter. One uncharacteristically snowy California night, she crashes her car into a river. A bolt of lightning strikes the near-submerged vehicle, resuscitating her already stilled heart. She rises from the cold waters as if baptised and, because of some thermonuclear law that will not be discovered until the year 2035, Adaline Bowman shall remain forever young.

    This condition of eternal youth is more curse than blessing. It means not being able to share in her daughter’s life (though the two remain in close contact). It means watching her daughter Flemming (Ellen Burstyn) look older than her and have to pretend to be her mother’s grandmother. It means having an album full of photos of the dogs who have served as her faithful companions over the decades. It means not allowing herself to fall in love, because what is love if you can’t grow old together? Adaline did break her own rule, just once, when she fell in love with a young man who helped her fix her car when she was stranded in the English countryside. Months later, when she saw he was about to propose, she left without explanation.

    Now as she is preparing to shed her current life for another, she finds herself pursued by the ardent Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) for whom she lets down her guard. As if Ellis wasn’t complication enough, she is stunned to discover that his father William (Harrison Ford) is the very same young man she loved and left all those years ago.

    The Age of Adaline possesses a timeless quality that is evoked by Claude Pare’s production design and Angus Strathie’s sumptuous and stylish costumes. Though digitally lensed, cinematographer David Lanzenberg imparts a cinematic texture to the film. The story itself is the type of implausible but deeply romantic melodrama that would have flourished in the Forties and Fifties like the fantasy romances The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Portrait of Jennie. By any standard of logic, The Age of Adaline shouldn’t work yet work it does despite, or perhaps because of, its reserve and politesse.

    Blake Lively is an inherently naturalistic, graceful, and understated performer. These qualities, along with her poise and sophistication, served her well during her six-season reign as Gossip Girl’s Upper East Side queen Serena van der Woodsen and they serve her well as Adaline. Everything about her – her comportment, the clipped diction, a certain discretion and formality – conveys that an old soul resides in her young body. It is a performance remarkable for its subtlety and expressiveness.

    Huisman, brimming with undeniable charm, proves himself a dashing romantic lead. Ford puts forth a restrained yet impassioned portrayal of a man who has known both love and loss. His selfless exhortation to Adaline reminds us that time, however much may be granted, is not to be wasted. In fact, time’s finite nature, the film argues, may be more of a blessing that we realise.

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  • Movie Name : The Age Of Adaline
    Genre : Romance / Drama
    Rating : Good 3/5

    Life is unpredictable and then life will turn upside down when you meet you the right person and will feel like staying in safe haven with the person closest to you. The Age Of Adaline is a romantic–drama embedded with strong performances and engaging script.

    The Age Of Adaline tells the story of Adaline, born at the beginning of 20th Century, meets with an accident which renders her ageless forever. Life turns when she meets a young handsome man who changes her eternal life forever.

    The Age of Adaline has everything going in its favor -crispy narration with wonderful cinematography, the subtle background score and gorgeous Blake Lively putting in right expression. Lee Toland Krieger is a director and writer, known for The Viciouss Kind (2009) and Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012) gives a refreshing romantic drama that has wonderful moments to lighten your mood. Couple of scenes do stand out from the film – the scene between Adaline and Ellis in the open theater , the climax scene , coupled with soothing background score definitely makes the film worth watching . Screenplay is decent. Editing could have been better. Cinematography is splendid grabbing the exotic location. Performances by Blake Lively is outstanding. She gets her right expression with each scene. Michiel Huisman is good. Harrison Ford is the usual dependent.

    So, if you are looking for a nice romantic date with your partner, you might choose The Age Of Adaline for a perfect evening.

    – Ketan

  • Quickie Reiview:

    After an accident, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) gains the gift of endless youth and eternal life. Unable to age Adaline was forced to live a solitary life for decades. Everything changes when she meets a charismatic man, Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman), complicating the life she had accepted. The Age of Adaline overall is a decent film, with good acting that make the relationships and the inherent conflict feel real. However, the story mechanic of agelessness is at times mishandled and hence ends up feeling like a gimmick. Though this is not a perfect film, The Age of Adaline gives a respectable effort in delivering a believable love story without becoming cheesy.

    Full Review:

    Romance movies is usually not my thing. Not because I’m a heartless guy, but because most of the time the stories tend to be overly simplistic depiction of love *cough* Nicholas Sparks movies *cough*. Excuse me. Though The Age of Adaline did have the potential to be exactly that, I was curious as to how agelessness would be used in the context of a romantic film.

    Blake Lively surprised me in this film. Sure, she may be one of the most gorgeous actresses in Hollywood (well done Ryan Reynolds), but I was never impressed by her acting chops. This movie has changed my opinion on Lively considerably. She played the character in a way that despite the 29 year old look there is an air of sophistication about her that has developed through years of wisdom. So the fact that she was able to make us believe that mentally she is a much older woman is definitely commendable. The chemistry she had with rest of the cast also added a lot of history to their relationships without always depending on flashbacks. Apart from the performances, the film looked great. The cinematography of the different ages brought a lot of character to the movie, transporting you through the different decades Adaline lived through.

    The problem the movie has is that the agelessness story mechanic feels under-used. Of course there are multiple flashbacks and there are hints at why she chose the way she lives her life. Yet, I can think of multiple way similar relationship conflicts could’ve been explored without the need for that mechanic. That’s why I wanted the movie to spend more screen time in the past, to really show the transitions that Adaline went through. The way the flashbacks work here is that they are always used when it is most convenient to explain her relationship with another character. Her past is never used to show her transform as a person over the years, so the agelessness becomes just means to add drama to a love story. Also I must mention, I absolutely hated the narration in the movie. It’s not very often but every time the narrator spoke it pulled me out of the movie, because for some reason they felt the need to explain her condition scientifically. Uh… nobody cares how this miracle works in terms of fake science. Let the audience just accept it and move on with the story.

    It’s a pity that the one thing that made The Age of Adaline unique was not fully taken advantage off. Nevertheless, the solid performances from Blake Lively and the rest of the cast helped the movie to not completely disappear into the noise of generic romantic movies. While there are noticeable flaws, there are certainly also some redeemable qualities to this movie.

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  • (Rating: ☆☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is recommended.

    In brief: A entertaining, if uneven, romantic story with no age spots in sight.

    GRADE: B

    The Age of Adaline is pure unadulterated soap opera. Well done, but still a product of that genre. It spins its romantic tale of time travel with a high fetched premise of the perils of immortality and love. The plot is this: Through a series of miraculous events, Adaline Bowman (a fetching Blake Lively) no longer ages and continues to live a productive, if lonely, life. She becomes a fugitive from the FBI who want to investigate her never-ending youthful appearance. (It is at this point I began to question why executives from Maybelline and Estee Lauder were not in on this conspiracy also.) Forsaking her daughter and other lovers, she is forced on the run, leading a solitary existence, that is, until a handsome and rich CEO (Michiel Huisman) comes into her life.

    Director Lee Toland Krieger brings enough style and polish to disguise this sudsy story and keeps the action moving as more and more complications ensue. The surprising twists never really surprise but they do hold one’s interest. The film’s script by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz sidesteps much of the melodramatic nonsense and establishes characters and relationships well.

    All of the characters are dressed to the nines and look gorgeous, nary a blemish in sight, especially for the ageless Miss A. (This has to be the most attractive cast ever assembled…no homely actors need apply.) The actors bring overdue credibility to the film. In the lead role, Blake Lively gives a fine performance as does the charming as Mr. Huisman, her love interest. Both actor exude the necessary chemistry to solidify their relationship on screen. Strong support is given by Ellen Burstyn as Adaline’s daughter, Fleming, and Harrison Ford as William, a rejected lover from the past life. Kathy Baker has some strong scenes as William’s wife.

    Romance novelist Barbara Cartland would surely have given her stamp of approval on this love story. The Age of Adaline remains highly enjoyable lightweight hokum, particularly for those romantics among us.

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