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Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Age of Adaline



An elegant tome about immortality, The Age of Adaline gets just right the terrible heartbreak of a person outliving their dog. This happens to almost everyone who owns a pet, regardless of whether or not they happen to be immortal, but The Age of Adaline really brings the feels when Adaline has to put her sweet little dog down. Blake Lively is Adaline Bowman, born New Year's Eve 1908 in San Francisco. And she cannot age. The Age of Adaline, through flashback and voice over, offers what seems to be, for the movie's purposes, a plausible scientific explanation for Adaline's "condition" (think similar to the origin of The Flash, but instead of super speed, Adaline's altered DNA prevents her from aging). Adaline is physically frozen in her late 20s, which would seem like an incredible gift, but immortality isn't all it's cracked up to be. In the present day, Adaline's daughter (Ellen Burstyn) is in her 80's and passes herself off as Adaline's grandmother in public. Adaline herself has spent most of her extra long life on the run in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, assuming a new identity every decade, ever since some men in black tried to abduct her for "study" in the 1950s. Adaline didn't misspend her many years; she is world-traveled, speaks numerous languages, and naturally, has broken a few hearts along the way.

Immortality is a lonely burden for Adaline until a man named Ellis Jones (Michael Huisman, who plays Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones), utterly insists on dating her. He is a charming, affluent philanthropist; more importantly, he is relentless, will not take Adaline's cold refusals and measures of evasion seriously, and finally, out of weariness of her solitude, she acquiesces. When Ellis takes her home to meet the Joneses, Adaline and we are stunned to learn his father is Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). He's even more stunned that his son's new girlfriend looks exactly like... Adaline Bowman, whom he met in England 45 years ago, romanced, and was about to propose to when she completely disappeared. (The young Harrison Ford is played rather convincingly in the 1960s flashbacks by Anthony Ingruber -- Disney, at least audition this kid for the inevitable Indiana Jones reboot.) Adaline takes a lot of lonely walks in Age of Adaline; accepting the conceit of her immortality is one thing but on these constitutionals, Adaline must be musing, as the audience does, about the wild contrivances of the plot where she finds herself dating the son of one of her ex-lovers. When father and son Jones learn the truth about Adaline, they both fail to react. (The screenplay does have Ellis flat out tell Adaline on their first date that he would believe anything he told her.) 

As Adaline and her many aliases, Lively is radiant and convinces as a wise old soul of 108 years hidden beneath her youthful, stunning looks. Of Adaline's romances, her briefly glimpsed time with the young Indiana Jones in the 60s seemed more interesting and offered more heat than her present day relationship with the younger Jones. Adaline seems more like she's simply willing to settle for Ellis, who is good enough and certainly devoted enough to be someone she can finally settle down with, rather than the ultimate love of her long, long life. Ford, meanwhile, delivers more emotion and conviction upon meeting Adaline again and seeking the truth about her than he has in years. Though utterly lacking in sword fights, decapitations, and songs by Queen (there is plenty of Quickening-like lightning, however), The Age of Adaline is the best Highlander movie since the original Highlander. Adaline's prize at the end is also, all things considered, a greater prize than Connor MacLeod's. Who lives forever, anyway?