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MOVIE REVIEW: Age of Adaline

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By Dustin Heller

The Age of Adaline is the new romantic drama movie starring Blake Lively and directed by Lee Toland Krieger.  Krieger doesn’t have many feature directing credits to his name, but he had a good deal of success with the films he’s done.  His first feature, The Vicious Kind, and his follow-up, Celeste and Jesse Forever, both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and were well received by critics.  Along with Lively, the film stars Michiel HuismanKathy BakerAmanda Crew, Harrison Ford, and Ellen Burstyn.

After a freak car accident in the early 1900s, Adaline Bowman (Lively) ceased to age like a normal human being.  She was 29 years old on the day of the accident and wouldn’t age another day as long as she lived.  Adaline didn’t realize how much of a problem this was until her looks didn’t match the age on her driver’s license and birth certificate.  Because of this, people had questions and wanted to examine her, which caused Adaline to constantly live her life on the run.

For decades, Adaline had managed to keep a low profile and successfully move from city to city with her only tie to the world being her daughter (Burstyn).  That is until the night of New Year’s Eve 2014 when she has a chance encounter with a mysterious man in an elevator.  Adaline had managed to spend her entire life since the accident with only falling in love one other time, but now she is beginning to fall in love all over again.  Will Adaline finally be able to settle down and stop running, or is the risk of hurting all involved even worth it?

As I was sitting in the theater watching The Age of Adaline, the word that continually kept coming to mind was pretentious.  There was just something about the character of Adaline that wasn’t even likable and yet she seemed to be desired by everyone.  This is the type of movie that really makes men look dumb, as if they are only interested in a woman because of the way she looks.  This is supposed to be a love story, but it felt like a mess throughout.  The entire premise of the movie is based on an idea that is totally unbelievable, which I’m fine with.  It is a movie after all.  The biggest issue I had was with all of the unbelievable things (you might call them coincidences) that happened within the “realistic” side of the movie.

Let me try to explain, take the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for example.  The idea that Benjamin Button ages in reverse is totally unrealistic and unbelievable, but it works in the context of the film because the events surrounding this anomaly are genuinely believable.  That is not the case with The Age of Adaline, there are many conveniences taken to move the story along and add drama.  Now that I’ve said all that, there were some good takeaways from the movie as well.  The look of the film and the costumes were pretty great, and Blake Lively did an excellent job as Adaline even though I didn’t particularly care for her character.  The target audience here is definitely women because it is a love story at heart, and even though I didn’t care for it that much, it would probably be a great movie for a girl’s night out.

Grade:  C-

The Age of Adaline opens in theaters on Friday, April 24