Film Review: The Age of Adaline – The Curious Case of Blake Lively

Blake Lively The Age of Adaline -
Blake Lively in The Age of Adaline

There’s a lot to like about The Age of Adaline. First is Blake Lively as the titular Adaline, a 106-year-old woman who, thanks to a freak accident, hasn’t aged a day past 29. When suspicions about her unchanged appearance begin to grow, she commits to a life of constantly changing identities and emotional distance. Best known for Upper East Side wild child, Serena Van Der Woodsen, in Gossip Girl, Lively is effortlessly graceful and her strong, calm presence grounds the film through its unrealistic premise.

Ellen Burstyn seems to be having a blast playing Adaline’s daughter, Flemming, who is at times defiant but also insightful in that way only someone who has known you for some eighty years can be. But the bright spots don’t make up for a weak plot that hinges around a love story, which frankly doesn’t land.

Michiel Huisman is likeable enough. He was quite charming in Nashville and Orphan Black, so it must be the material that has him coming off as arrogant yet somewhat bland. The film employs the overused-and-why-cant-it-die-already trope of man relentlessly pursuing woman, woman repeatedly refusing his advances, man doincharming disturbing things like bribery and stalking until she gives in.

I mean who wouldn’t fall in love with that, right?


The film picks up pace in the second half, when a man (Harrison Ford) from Adaline’s past threatens her relationship with Huisman’s Ellis. Ford is outstanding here, with all the desperation, passion and emotion that I want to feel from Huisman but don’t.

Lee Toland Krieger (Celeste and Jesse Forever) has done an admirable job of creating a visual grace that matches up to his star, but the voiceover is unnecessarily complicated. It explains the science of Adaline’s condition in such detail that it takes you out of the story. Krieger would have served the story better by allowing his audience to suspend their disbelief and be taken on a journey.

But that journey is not an easy road when your star-crossed lovers don’t really have enough chemistry to light a match.

Blake Lively Age of Adaline -

There are many nice touches, such as Adaline’s luggage and dressing room, that bring her old-world elegance into the modern day and the flashbacks that flesh out Adaline’s story.

The screenplay was co-written by relative newcomers Salvador Paskowitz and J. Mills Goodloe. The latter contributed to Pride (unfortunately not last year’s charming UK hit) and co-adapted Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me – which might be why this film slightly resembles a Sparks adaptation.

The Age of Adaline is a reasonably enjoyable movie with good performances, but ultimately underwhelming in the romance stakes. Not a total waste of time, but not a timeless classic either.


The Age of Adaline is out in cinemas on May 8th. Check out the trailer below:

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