Sunday, April 26, 2015

“The Age of Adaline”

Immortal Life and Love
Director: Lee Toland Kreiger
Genre: Fantasy/ Romance/ Mystery
Studio: Lionsgate/ Warner Bros.
Running Time: 110 Minutes

Cast: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker, Lynda Boyd, Amanda Crew

Review by James Colt Harrison

Blake Lively plays blonde and pretty Adaline Bowman, a woman who stops aging at 29 and lives through a century as a bright, young female in perfect health. Some people would welcome this condition, but Adaline is not too happy about it and feels she must keep it a secret.

Through some flashbacks it is revealed with some scientific hocus pocus she survived a severe car crash when struck by a bolt of lightning. This event, apparently, changed all her molecules and they stopped the aging process. Good in theory, but hardly based on any facts known at this time.

Shot mostly in photogenic San Francisco, the film follows Adaline’s paranoia about being ‘found-out.’ Every decade or so she changes identity, jobs and location in a mad quest to avoid detection and being treated like a circus freak. She avoids intimacy with any men, and her best friend is blind pianist Regan, played charmingly by Lynda Boyd. This is a convenient way of keeping her secret about not aging while her friend ages normally. Adaline also leans on her daughter for support. An interesting part of the film is to have the daughter age enough so that she looks like the mother and not Adaline! The beautiful actress-of-a-certain-age Ellen Burstyn is full of life and vigor and plays the daughter. The two women share the secret and are tender and sweet with each other. While Burstyn’s character pretends to be “just a friend,” she keeps the secret under wraps for her “mom.”

Caught off guard, Adaline meets smashingly handsome and rich Ellis Jones ( Dutch actor Michiel Huisman) at a charity event. He relentlessly pursues her and she gives him the brush-off. It’s at this point director Toland points the film toward being a romantic tear-jerker. Using restraint, it does not wallow in tears as some films are wont to do (see Scott Eastwood’s The Longest Ride).

Adaline can’t resist Ellis’ physical charms and agrees to meet his parents on a weekend jaunt. Kathy Baker ( 3 Emmy Awards for Picket Fences) plays mom and wordly Harrison Ford (Star Wars) turns out to be Ellis’ father. In an intriguing sequence of events, we learn it may not be the first time he has met Adaline. The Spoiler Alert is that we are not revealing anything at all about the movie.

A note on newcomer Michiel Huisman: He is familiar to audiences in the United States through his work on television and in some films. HBO’s Game Of Thrones has brought him instant recognition as the character Daario Naharis, and Orphan Black saw him play actress Tatiana Maslany’s old flame. He played opposite Emily Blunt in the 2009 The Young Victoria, was with Brad Pitt in World War Z in 2013, and romanced Reese Witherspoon along the trail in Wild in 2014. The Netherlands-born actor (July 18, 1981) started out as a musician and singer with his Dutch band Fontane. He gravitated toward Dutch films and soon made his way to some television films in England. He played famed ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev in the 2009 Margot. He made his entry into American television with parts on the series Treme  (2010-2013), Nashville (2012-2014), and Orphan Black (2014-2015).  The Age of Adaline is his first leading man role in an American film.

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