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The Age of Adaline (Blake Lively) - DVD Review

The Age of Adaline

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FANS of more curious romantic dramas such as Benjamin Button and The Time Traveller’s Wife will get the most out of The Age of Adaline, an engrossing if flawed drama.

Blake Lively stars as the Adaline of the title, a woman who cannot age following an unlikely set of circumstances. Rather than reveal her secret and be turned into a lab rat, however, Adaline resolves to change her identity every decade and not to commit to anyone romantically.

But this leads to a lonely existence until, one New Year in present day San Francisco, she meets a charismatic bachelor (Michiel Huisman’s Ellis), whose persistence might just convince her that happiness is worth a shot.

Lee Toland Krieger’s film certainly boasts an intriguing premise and makes the odd interesting observation about the nature of mortality but it’s a mostly lightweight affair enlivened by the quality of its performances.

Lively acquits herself well in the central role, careful to remain distanced enough to be elusive yet yearning enough to suggest she’s had good reason to question her decision-making over the years. She works well with Huisman, who does enough to make his character worth rooting for in the love stakes.

The true scene-stealers, however, are two veteran actors: Ellen Burstyn, as Adaline’s devoted daughter, and Harrison Ford, as Huisman’s father, whose existence is thrown a major loop by the arrival of Adaline at his front door. Ford, in particular, helps to shake things up around the midway point, just as the film needed it.

Special mention, too, must go to hitherto unknown actor Anthony Ingruber, whose portrayal of a younger Harrison Ford is uncannily accurate, both vocally and in terms of his looks.

It’s just a shame that the screenplay, co-written by J Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, doesn’t quite manage to offer more in terms of really making you think about what it is to be able to transcend time and avoid the ageing process.

Instead, the explanation for Adaline’s condition is both laughably improbable and delivered by an unnecessary voice-over that keeps re-appearing at various points in the film to pluck you from the story.

Under-written, too, are supporting characters such as Huisman’s Ellis (quite often reduced to eye candy) or Kathy Baker (as Harrison Ford’s wife), while some of the plot turns feel hopelessly manipulated (much in the same way as your emotions).

For those willing to take the leap of faith, however, The Age of Adaline manages to rise above its flaws to deliver a nicely emotional romantic drama that offers one of the better date movies in a while.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 112mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: September 14, 2015