Film review for The Age of Adaline (Lionsgate Entertainment), starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, and Harrison Ford––now playing in theaters.
3.5 out of 5 stars (overall)
Here are WSN, we’ve been very excited about The Age of Adaline and over the last month, the trailers, character posters, and clips have only served to increase our anticipation. Well, thanks to our friends at Lionsgate we both had the chance to attend advance Adaline screenings on Tuesday, April 21, and truth be told, we had a blast! In the theater, there was a general ambience of zeal…we could feel that we were about to see something enchanting and magical. Let us tell you, The Age of Adaline is just those things! Lionsgate’s latest romantic drama is charming, sweet, and so very lovely. We definitely recommend Adaline, so take a look at some of the reasons why in our reviews below:
Funmbi: 4 out of 5 stars
“Years, lovers, and glasses of wine. These are things that must never be counted.”
The Age of Adaline posed several interesting questions about aging, time, and how these could complicate various forms of love. Ultimately, the audience got to consider these propositions through Adaline Bowman’s eyes. From the outset, it was clear that she was incredibly intelligent, observant, and discerning…which wasn’t hard to imagine. She’d had 106 years of life to develop those qualities, ever since a car accident in the 1930s rendered her impenetrable to aging (via a biological mechanism that would remain unknown to science until 2035, according to the narrator).
At first one would think that never growing older, more frail, and eventually dying would be positive. However, Adaline’s experience told us a different story. She spent the bulk of those years always on the run and changing identities, never staying in one place for too long and missing out on large parts of her daughter’s (Flemming) life. Yet, Adaline was able to carve out a small niche of normalcy for herself. In her alias of Jenny, she was back in San Francisco, spending time with (now much older) Flemming, and working at the city archives. She was happy for the most part…until a chance meeting at a New Year’s Eve party threatened to derail her pattern.
Being on the run all this time didn’t really afford the time for romantic entanglements. Besides, as Adaline said, without the ability to grow old together, romance would ultimately end in heartbreak. But there was something about Ellis Jones, even at their first meeting, that made her just want to let go. Would Adaline be willing to take a leap and open herself up to completely love, trust, and be honest with another?
I thought Blake was brilliant in this role. Of course, she was stunning as Adaline (such gorgeous fashions!), but her beauty was matched by an internal fortitude and elegance. This was not a woman to be toyed with. Blake was even able to add a certain cadence to her voice which gave us the feeling that there was something anachronistic about Adaline. While I loved seeing her live through different decades (and Blake/Adaline looked exquisite in each one), it also broke my heart to watch her constantly in fear that someone would discover her secret.
I also enjoyed Michiel’s performance as Ellis. I loved his eagerness to persuade Adaline to give him a chance. I thought he was sweet, smart, slightly awkward, but tenacious. I completely see how some would interpret that tenacity as creepy (see T.J.’s review below!), and there may have been once or twice that Ellis crossed a personal boundary. But I never thought that his actions came from a negative or threatening place. Ellis was just really taken with Adaline and knew he’d have to work overtime to get and keep her interest.
Additionally, I was impressed with the cast ensemble, as a whole: I thought Ellen Burstyn was a funny and sassy Flemming, encouraging her mom to settle down. Even though she was no longer bound by time, there was still lots of enjoyment to derive from life.
Interestingly, William Jones (in both past and present) also played a significant part in motivating Adaline to truly live. Young William (played by Anthony Ingruber) was ambitious and shared his optimism and thirst for adventure with Adaline. Later in life, older William (played by the incomparable Harrison Ford) was a man who’d clearly experienced the joys of family, success, and love; however, he’d missed his friend and still wanted those same things for her.
Furthermore, I loved how San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge were central icons in the film. Oddly enough, I also really liked the narrator! He was knowledgeable and an all around amiable persona in the film.
If I was to offer any criticism, I only wish we’d had a bit more context about who/what exactly Adaline was running from. We saw that she had initial run-ins with the police and possibly the FBI. But it was a bit difficult to believe that the authorities were chasing after her for over 60 years, especially when there wasn’t any evidence in the film that she’d had other dealings with the police during this time period. However, I suppose that when you get into the pattern of running, evading, and concealing, it can be tough to break the habit.
As we could imagine, Adaline’s struggles drove the major plot and character conflicts, and we as an audience were thoroughly invested in finding the resolutions. No spoilers, but the ending was beautiful, satisfying, and very hopeful. Overall, well-done! I walked out of the theater with a smile on my face, flutters in my tummy, and feeling whimsy in my soul. The Age of Adaline is definitely a MUSTSEE!
T.J.: 3 out of 5 stars
I clearly recall the day that I saw Funmbi would be covering all the news for The Age of Adaline on We So Nerdy. I was drawn to the images of Blake Lively and her immense beauty. And as gorgeous as she is, the art direction for the film’s publicity campaign was just as breathtaking. Immediately, I went onto IMDb to learn more about the cast, crew, writers, and production team for the movie. First, I saw the film also stars Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford, so I was drooling over this, but then I saw that the costume designer for The Age of Adaline was Academy Award winner Angus Strathie.
Angus Strathie along with Catherine Martin won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Moulin Rouge! Each time I watch Moulin Rouge! I can find a new costume to be amazed by and I felt the same would happen with The Age of Adaline and I was correct. The wardrobe for The Age of Adaline was utterly amazing, I’ve actually had a dream about it. In the dream I was allowed to visit the costuming closet for the film and try on Blake’s wardrobe and everything fit just like the jeans in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants flicks. It was glorious, truly glorious.
Instead of spending my time in this review telling you about how much I adore the wardrobe, because I could. I’ll move on and give you my impressions of the some characters in the film, the actors who portrayed them, and my favorite scenes they are in.
Adaline Bowman was a force to be reckoned with. She was extremely smart, resourceful, loving, and she held her ground on the things she believed in. I was impressed that a woman who appeared to have acquired a bit of wealth through her time on earth didn’t just sit back and not be bothered with the world. Instead she went out and engaged with some defined parameters. She learned new things, became a whiz at languages, and traveled the world. Blake Lively’s portrayal of Adaline was quite lovely. Blake had moments where you could see she was imparting quirks for character; a slight tilt of her head when contemplating something or was affronted by someone, a way she set her features when she was accessing a situation and not trying to give anything away about herself. And she brilliantly had this ability to pace her speech in a manner that made Adaline seem otherworldly.
My favorite scenes are the ones were Adaline is interacting with her daughter. No matter the age of the characters you truly felt Blake had assumed this respected, maternal role even when she is sitting across from someone twice her age. It was amazing to see.
Ellis Jones as a character in the beginning totally rubbed me the wrong way. I felt that he was such a creeper. My internal warning system was screaming at Adaline to run away from Ellis. That is not the case, and as the two become closer, a part of me begins to like Ellis a little. And I mean a little. I didn’t fall for Ellis like many have and will. Michiel Huisman is a sexy man, and even though his portrayal of Ellis was a solid one I couldn’t be swayed by his looks to like the character enough. Even when I get to see him shirtless and wet.
Although I wasn’t a fan of Ellis, my favorite scene of his in the film oddly isn’t the ones where he is showing some skin, but when he is attempting to persuade Adaline to go out with him again by telling her the supposed best joke she has ever heard.
William Jones we see at varying points in his life and at all those points the actors who portray him are spectacular. William Jones when he is young is lovable and when he is older he becomes even more loveable, even when he creates the most awkward and highly hilarious encounter moment in the film.
Young William Jones is portrayed by Anthony Ingruber. This is Anthony’s first feature film and he was actually discovered for this role due to a YouTube video where he impersonates Harrison Ford. His impersonation of Harrison Ford is so spot on that while watching the film I assumed that the sound and editing departments meshed Anthony’s and Mr. Ford’s voices.
Harrison Ford, is WELL, Harrison Ford and he can do no wrong in a role (in my VERY BIASSED opinion). And even though the awkward moment that Mr. Ford portrayed so brilliantly is one of my favorite scenes in the film, it’s actually a toast William Young gives near the end of the film that pulled on my heart strings.
Flemming portrayed by Ellen Burstyn is the heartbeat in The Age of Adaline. She is a vital sounding board to what is going on in Adaline’s life and is there to push Adaline to do more than she has since her immortality has begun. It is always great to see Ellen Burstyn in action. She is so utterly talented and one of our great actors. So each moment we are graced with Ms. Burstyn’s presence in a scene made me extremely happy.
The Age of Adaline was narrated by Hugh Ross. Hugh’s voice is like butter and it was great to hear him narrate points of the film, but unlike other films or TV shows that use narrators, I didn’t see the point of a male narrator explaining things that were happening to Adaline Bowman. The narrator didn’t spend time discussing other characters and their lives, and I got the feeling that since there are moments where “scientific facts” are discussed, I felt someone made the decision to go with a male narrator because it would seem more reliable. This may or may not be true, but that is thought that came into my mind as the narration takes place in the film.
Have you seen The Age of Adaline? If so, what were your favorite moments in the film? If not, did our reviews convince you to see Adaline?
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[Featured Image Source: The Age of Adaline Lionsgate]