Just as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” explored the unusual concept of someone aging in reverse, a new cinematic fable, “The Age of Adaline”, centers around another unique variation of the aging process – or more specifically – the non-aging process.
Blake Lively, in her first film in nearly three years, delivers a standout performance as Adaline Bowman. Born in San Francisco on New Year’s Day, 1908, Adaline lives a normal life until, in 1935, while driving on a rare cold night, she’s involved in a car accident and ends-up underwater in a river. Unconscious and close to death, a bolt of lightning strikes the car, bringing Adaline back to life.
But the incident also gives her an amazing power: from that moment on she would never age another day. And she spends her life avoiding the police, hospitals, and having her photo taken, so that her identity won’t be discovered and she won’t become a medical test subject. After spending the next eight decades traveling the world, constantly changing her name and avoiding relationships, she returns to San Fran to be near her daughter, who’s now a senior citizen. But on New Year’s Eve, Adaline meets a man who will change the course of her life once again.
“The Age of Adaline” is a delicate film with an effective story. The pacing is purposely slow – but at no time do you lose interest. I was invested in this character and her complicated and quite sad situation from the start. And there are some emotional scenes involving Lively and her latest in a long line of cocker spaniels, her daughter (played by Ellen Burstyn), new boyfriend (Michiel Huisman) and his father (the incomparable Harrison Ford).
Some scientific reasoning for Adaline’s immortal existence is presented to us through on-again, off-again narration, though not in a loud or distracting way. And while all of the plot elements don’t make perfect sense, this is one of those films where it’s best to just go with it and enjoy the results.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “The Age of Adaline” gets a B.
Running Time: 112 min.