Granger on Movies: 'The Age of Adaline'
Published 10:29 am, Friday, May 8, 2015
The concept is intriguing: What would life be like if you stopped aging at age 29? That's what happens to Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), who was born on New Year's Day in San Francisco in 1908.
As the narration tell us: at age 29, Adaline, a grief-stricken widow, drowned in an automobile accident, after which she was struck by lightning. That ignited some bizarre scientific phenomenon that won't be discovered until 2035. So she revived, only to discover that she was blessed/cursed by eternal youth.
Adaline understands that her never-changing looks causes complications. There are rewards, however, since she bought stock in a small company called Xerox at its inception.
By the 1950s, when the FBI get suspicious, she realizes she has to change her name and residence each decade, keeping everyone at an emotional distance. Except her now-elderly daughter (Ellen Burstyn), her only confidante.
Then romance kicks in. Elegant yet lonely Adaline, now called Jenny, works in the San Francisco city archive, where she's spotted by Ellis (Michiel Huisman), a tech-wealthy historian/philanthropist. Maddeningly elusive when he persistently tries to court her, she eventually relents and agrees to visit his parents' home for the celebration of their 40th anniversary.
A curious blending of "Frankenstein," "Dorian Gray" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz's implausible melodrama is sensitively directed by Lee Toland Krieger, evoking nostalgia -- with its essential authenticity augmented by Claude Pare's production design and Angus Strathie's vintage costumes.
While cool, calm Blake Lively (TV's "Gossip Girl") underplays enigmatic Adaline, what's most memorable is Harrison Ford's befuddled bewilderment.
On the Granger Movie Gauge, "The Age of Adaline" is a fantastical 5, yet perhaps too reserved and tastefully restrained for its own good.
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