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The Age of Adaline – Movie Review

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The Age of Adaline – Movie Review

Rating: D+ (Bad)

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The recent Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Longest Ride managed to avoid the overall corniness and silliness people tend to decry his works for having. The reason for those absences might be because they found themselves in The Age of Adaline instead. There’s potential for a thoughtful storyline here about trying to change with the world and dealing with leaving loved ones behind. However, the whole film feels like a gigantic missed opportunity as it instead opts for a very cheesy and dull romance that gets more ridiculous with each scene. Nothing feels genuine in this movie, especially when it takes little to no advantage of its fantastical premise.

With the titular Adaline having stopped aging in the mid 20th century, there’s a lot of potential to explore her living through the various decades, akin to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She could even go into the future and the filmmakers could imagine what the world could be like thousands of years from now. Disappointedly, the large majority of The Age of Adaline is set in modern times and any sense of creativity that could be explored with its plot is untapped. Even Adaline’s relationship with her aging daughter lacks any kind of emotional resonance as the film never explores the potential heartbreak that can come from this situation. J Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz chooses to focus on her relationship with a young entrepreneur. Between the corny dialogue and the lack of chemistry between the two actors, there is little to latch onto.

Blake Lively’s performance is mostly flat for a role that should require a lot more emotion. There’s never a sense of the years she’s seen and the constant traveling she’s made from state to state. Michiel Huisman lacks the charm required for the part and as a result, it doesn’t make a lot of sense why Adaline decides to break her own rules to become romantically involved with him. Harrison Ford gives one of his lesser performances here, coming across as confused and bewildered most of the time. Watching him in this film only makes the wait for the next Star Wars movie that much longer. The most impressive part of The Age of Adaline is seeing the actor hired to portray the younger version of Ford. It’s uncanny how much Anthony Ingruber looks and sounds exactly like Ford from his Raiders of the Lost Ark days. This plot point does create some uncomfortable, albeit comedic, thoughts about Adaline’s different bedfellows over the years.

The most cloying element in all of The Age of Adaline is the narration that appears multiple times throughout the film. Whether this decision was made by director Lee Toland Krieger, the screenwriters or the studio remains to be seen, but it’s completely unnecessary as the imagery does a more than apt job of explaining the story. It’s a distracting piece of over-expositional writing that does nothing to expand the characters and their motivations. Any intelligent viewer can decipher what is going on and the narration is eye-rolling in its execution. It’s a shame, too, because while the script may be paper-thin, David Lazenberg’s cinematography gives the film a nice glow.

There’s a lot the film could have done with this premise, but the whole project feels like a waste. Whether the filmmakers had decided to make it a whimsical fantasy or a bittersweet tale of sadness, those would have been far more interesting than the schmaltzy romance The Age of Adaline ended up as. What’s the point of having an ageless character if you mostly keep her situated in the current time period? Even the presence of the usually reliable Harrison Ford does nothing to elevate the material. The flashback to his younger days is one of the better scenes and that’s mainly because we’re left thinking about what a perfect find the casting director attained.

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Review By: Stefan Ellison

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