The film Age of Adaline is a new take on an old tale of a woman who is closed off and unable to let others in; however, in this case, Adaline has stayed twenty-nine years old for over seventy years. Due to her unusual ability to stay young, over time she cuts herself off more and more from the world… until she meets a young man who makes her rethink her life and her future.
Age of Adaline had some good elements and some bad ones. As with all movies, there were things that didn’t work and could have been done differently. Here were some of the things that didn’t work too well for me:
- The Opening and Closing narrator. Some films open with the main character giving a brief narration of their life and some films open with a more Morgan Freeman style narration, but then there was this opening. The film chooses to have a very detached sounding narrator that doesn’t speak at the beginning or the end of the movie, but it interrupts somewhere near it. It would be fine if the narrator’s tone matched the rest of the film, but because of it, it feels very out of place. I felt like I was watching a nice little drama and someone switched to the History channel without warning me. It ruined the flow for me.
- Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) both worked and didn’t work for me. On one hand, I felt that the character was a nice change from the 50 Shades Mr. Grey model. I liked that Adaline didn’t like that he just showed up at her place when she hadn’t given him her address and I liked that he was romantic, sweet, and a bit awkward. In short, he was cute and a nice change of pace. But, because no one is perfect, he did come off as a bit pushy obsessive and slightly clingy. Within two dates or so, he’s ready for her to meet his parents (with her staying a weekend at their home) and drop the “L” word. I slightly question his behavior and reasoning.
- There are several ways to tell a story, and Adaline uses one too many. It had parts that focused on the science of Adaline’s change, others that told her story through clips and used flashbacks through photos, and even a reference to the cliché format “of chapters in a book,” by stating the one line in opening that this “was her first and last chapter.” While each are great ways to tell a story on their own, throwing them all together just makes a mess.
- The conflict I was promised did not appear in the film at all, or rather it didn’t feel like much of a conflict at all. I was told Adaline was forced to make a choice between her secret and happiness when confronted by the past, but that doesn’t appear until near the end after she’s been debating the issue and it was unclear if she going to commit to a relationship before hand. However, she had a ready-to-use easy out throughout the film, something that felt like a cop-out when she used it. In short, they dropped the ball by watering down the drama in the end.
Now, here are things that we like.
The casting was spot on. Anthony Ingruber was perfect as a young Harrison Ford. Ellen Burstyn was funny and endearing. I can just go on and on about how well the cast performed in their roles. Everyone was enjoyable to watch and added something to the overall film.
- The wardrobe of the film was nicely chosen. They added to the story, as did the locations used. Everything looked beautiful and amazing. The scene where Adaline is looking at an old photo of herself and wearing the same dress to a similar event was great. There was a lot of little things that really drove the movie home for me.
- The symbolism was kind of cute. Basically the film was this: the widow Adaline is unable to change outwardly after the death of her husband and can not let new love/people into her life through fear. So, she shuts herself off from the world and runs from all attachments, but her daughter. She lives her life like this until a new man walks into her life that could make her change her lifestyle, let go of her fears, and live a real life once more. It wasn’t a new story, but it was told in a different way that worked rather well.
As a whole, I regret seeing Age of Adaline in theaters. I even felt a bit sorry for dragging my boyfriend to go with me. I honestly thought Adaline was going to be more like The Notebook or something in that vein. For me, this film was better as a home rental at best and it won’t be something that I’d add to my collection.
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Age Of Adaline Review: Images courtesy of theageofadalinemovie.com