The Age of Adaline

Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger

Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Harrison Ford, and Ellen Burstyn

It's the quiet before the storm at the box office this weekend.  The summer movie season is right around the corner!  Earth's mightiest heroes are leading the charge.  Avengers: Age of Ultron is almost here ladies and gentlemen.  On this fateful weekend, we have just one new mainstream flick entering the fray, one that could potentially serve as counter-programming to Tony Stark and the gang.  That movie is Lee Toland Krieger's romance The Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively.

Adaline Bowman (Lively) has had an extraordinary life yet somehow hasn't really lived at all.  Born in 1908, she has a relatively normal life until her husband's untimely passing.  Some months later, Adaline finds herself in a tragic car accident that changes the course of her life.  In the accident, her car lands in a body of water.  Drowning, Adaline's heart stops beating as her body reaches a temperature of 87 degrees.  Suddenly, lightning strikes, Adaline's heart starts beating again, and she crawls out of the wrecked car.  More importantly, that lightning strike has changed something within her DNA.  Her cells lose their malleability, and Adaline can no longer age.

As the world changes over the ensuing years, Adaline does not.  By the time her daughter Flemming reaches adulthood in the 1950s, the mother-daughter pair looks more like sisters out in the street, and the world is starting to take notice, including the FBI.  Soon, Adaline finds the life she's known in jeopardy.  She makes a vow to change her identity and move to a new location every ten years.  That's a vow she keeps for decades to come.  In the present, her daughter Flemming (Ellen Burstyn) is now an elderly woman, and the forever young Adaline spends her days working at a San Francisco public library immersed in vestiges of the past.  It's just about time for Adaline to move again and assume a new identity when Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) enters her life and complicates things.  Romance follows, and things become even more complicated when she meets his father William (Harrison Ford) with whom she crossed paths decades prior.

There's no doubt that there is a majestic overtone to The Age of Adaline.  Director Lee Toland Krieger manages to keep a certain fantastical element of the film at the forefront for the movie's entirety.  The problem with this is that he offers a one-trick pony.  The film centers on its rather creative premise and adds nothing else.  There's very little comedy.  There's very little poignant drama.  Beyond the romance and fantasy overtones, there's very little else to create true movie magic with this rather symmetric narrative.  Simply put, The Age of Adaline suffers from a fairly monotonous romance featuring the youngest looking 107 year-old ever.

The cast doesn't miss a beat.  For her part as Adaline Bowman, Blake Lively has a tall task.  She has to portray someone who grew up at the dawn of the twentieth century and currently functions as a low-key librarian at the beginning of the twenty first.  Lively manages to give us a girl with a refined grace yet a keen awareness of the world around her.  It's an intriguing performance that mixes an old soul with young energy.  For his part as Ellis, Michiel Huisman gives us a sensitive yet aggressive man smitten by Lively's Adaline.  Finally, we have Harrison Ford who portrays someone other than a grouch.  Ford gives us a wise old man whose scars from the past cut just as deep in the present.

The Age of Adaline doesn't exactly take us to some place we've never been before.  This near miss could certainly use a jolt of comedy.  Still, it is a decent movie.  This one-trick pony gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Riesling with The Age of Adaline.