The Age of Adaline: Film Review
Cast: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, Ellen Burstyn, Amanda Crew
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
It feels like a Nicholas Sparks mash up with A Curious Case Of Benjamin Button elements thrown in, but yet portions of The Age of Adaline manage to transcend the syrupy conventions of romantic fantasy.
One time Gossip Girl star Blake Lively is Adaline, a woman who was born at the turn of the century and who has not aged a day; she's seen San Francisco come and go, its major landmarks ravaged by time and earthquakes but yet she's weathered them all.
Fearing that she's become isolated from all around her and with her chance for a normal life and love fading as every year springs eternal, a meeting with a philanthropist Ellis (Huisman) on the stroke of midnight at a New Year's Eve party sets Adaline on a course she could never have predicted.
The Age Of Adaline is a sumptuous feast for the eyes - but not really for the brain unless you like romantic tosh.
It's thanks in no part to Blake Lively who revels in the chance to tout some beautiful costumes and cut a swathe through period locations.
Revelling in its Nicholas Sparks' style trappings, this romantic fantasy has a portentous voiceover that spouts aphorism and pomposity with ease, leading the film down a holier-than-thou approach and lending the supernatural trappings a self-referential feeling as it struggles through its exposition heavy opening.
The elegaic piece packs a twist halfway through proceedings which will be polarising, as the film of coincidence heads to its final denouement and phrases like "You've lived, but never had a life" peppering the at times corny dialogue.
But it's exquisitely shot, with the ruminations on life beautifully sign-posted throughout.
The film's never better than when it lets Lively take the stage; her radiance shines through and enlivens proceedings, stopping them from becoming a wallowing piece of pulpy romantic trash. Game of Thrones star Huisman barely registers a pulse as the love interest, and even Harrison Ford who crops up midway through seems a little lost in parts as he navigates the conventions of the genre under the guidance of Celeste and Jesse Forever's director Krieger.
Ultimately, despite the romantic trappings and despite a strong pathos filled turn from Lively, The Age of Adaline is a movie of two halves; its divisive twist proves the tipping point into absurdity for me personally, and its final scenes creak with ridicule due to a lack of actual resolution rather than a glow that the sombre piece elicits early on.