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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Age of Adaline | Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Ellen Burstyn, Harrison Ford, Kathy Baker | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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The Age of Adaline | Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Ellen Burstyn, Harrison Ford, Kathy Baker | Review

She’ll never need Botox.

Born in 1908, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) does not age after a 1937 accident that leaves her a youthful 29.  Always.  No wrinkles, no gray hair. Ever.  Eventually, her own daughter, Flemming, (Ellen Burstyn/Cate Richardson) could pass as Adaline’s grandmother.

A narrator (Hugh Ross) describes how all of this happened, and even tries to make it sound somewhat scientific - something to do with a cold body core temperature plus electricity.

Adaline’s been around. She knows lots of facts, can speak four languages, works in a library, and kills at Trivial Pursuit.

She also flees her life periodically when questions start being asked.  Adamant at not becoming a guinea pig for science, Adaline, who is independently wealthy from a wise investment in Xerox years before, changes identity like the stylish, vintage couture she’s fond of wearing.  

Even her hairstyle is an elegant throwback to earlier eras of American fashion and becomes a barometer of the careful control she exerts over her long, long life.  When things become complicated, the pretty tresses unravel.

Adaline treats her secret as something to be feared.  That’s why a chance meeting with smitten philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) unsettles the normally serene librarian.  Unfortunately, it also signals a decline in the delightful discoveries of Adaline’s life through the decades.

Meeting Ellis’s parents William (Harrison Ford) and Kathy (Kathy Bates) brings further discomfort for Adaline as one of them gets too close to discovering who she really is, and that means…overreaction, of course.

Cue narrator.

Director Lee Toland Krieger’s (Celeste and Jesse Forever) tale of magical realism, love and loss, falters when it ventures into rom-com/drama territory.  Schmaltzy dialogue between Adaline and ardent admirer Ellis leads to cringe-worthy banter and a fragile (tedious) courtship. It also leads to one big needle-in-a haystack coincidence that is an opportunity for unnecessary melodrama, angst, and mediocrity – smack dab in the middle of a film that is otherwise enchanting.

It’s an age-old story planted into the story of a woman who does not age, and by its very mundane nature, breaks the spell.  The sparkle fades into disappointing predictability, but there are some lovely visuals along the way.

Lively brings an ethereal quality to Adaline that is utterly believable, although Huisman’s Ellis is an uber-insistent love interest, nearing stalker status.  Ford looks uncomfortable in his small but important role, and Baker’s appearance is a plot device to prove something to the audience.  She deserves better than that.

During the film, it is discovered that one of Adaline’s many admirers has named a comet after one of her various aliases, but alas, it was what’s known as a near miss.

Much like The Age of Adaline itself.


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