Movie Review: The Age of Adaline

Last night, Collin and I attended an advance screening of The Age of Adaline. Looks like our movie jinx is still very much in effect, though not quite as bad as the tornado that so rudely interrupted Captain America: The Winter Soldier or the freak lightning storm that stranded us after Guardians of the Galaxy…but still a pain in the backside. We had dinner at TGI Fridays. I ordered the Endless Apps. Appetizers–light meal, right? Wrong. First came the loaded potato skins. I took one look at that huge plate and decided maybe I should have gone with a salad. A small salad. The apps were delicious…but getting to try everything isn’t going to happen if you can’t get through the first round!

Age of Adaline poster

I damaged the shoulder strap on my new bag and the band on my favorite watch. Not off to a good start. The movie, I decided, had better be good.

It was.

The Age of Adaline opens in present day San Francisco, with a young woman (Blake Lively) buying fake ID and reprimanding the maker for using his talents in an endeavor that could land him in prison. She then return to her job as a librarian, where a co-worker delivers some old newsreels to her. She watches them alone, and it’s here that her backstory is told.

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Adaline Bowman was born in San Francisco in 1908 and led a fairly normal life until she was in her twenties. She met and married an engineer working on the construction of the Golden Gate bridge, had a daughter, and became a young widow when her husband is killed in an accident on the job. Everything changes for her one night in 1929 as she’s driving alone. For the first time in recorded history, it begins to snow in Sonoma County. Adaline loses control of her car on the slick road and crashes. The car ends up underwater, and the narrator explains the process of hypothermia and impending death Adaline experiences. Then, something else extraordinary occurs: the car in which she’s trapped is struck by lightning, jumpstarting her heart, saving her life…and somehow halting the normal aging process.

As the years pass, Adaline finds it increasingly difficult to explain her appearance. In one scene, she’s stopped by a police officer who can’t believe she’s 45. When she’s approached by two men who identify themselves as federal agents and she narrowly manages to escape, she realizes she has to assume a new identity every few years to avoid suspicion. This forces her to hide her true relationship with her daughter–who now looks older than her mother.

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For Adaline, the decades that follow are lonely. She can’t have lasting relationships, can’t let herself fall in love–until she meets a dashing young philanthropist, Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) who won’t take no for an answer at a New Year’s Eve party. Adaline finds herself falling in love. Her daughter, now an elderly woman (Ellen Burstyn) about to move into a retirement home, urges her to allow herself happiness. Adaline recalls the last time she let down her defenses and how painful it was to have to end it. She knows this can’t end well, but can’t bring herself to end things with Ellis.

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Adaline seems to have finally found that happiness with Ellis, until someone from her past (Harrison Ford, excellent in a surprisingly minor role) recognizes her. Will the truth destroy her? I recommend you see The Age of Adaline and find out. It’s a great date movie. It will make you rethink whether or not you’d really want to live forever. As for all of you looking for the magic formula to stop the aging process, well, don’t try this at home, okay?

The Age of Adaline stars Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn and Amanda Crew; directed by Lee Toland Krieger , written by Salvador Paskowitz, Allison Burnett, J. Mills Goodloe.

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