The Age of Adaline could be best described as The Twilight Zone meets Nicholas Sparks. It tells the story of Adaline Bowman who, since a freak accident in the 1930’s, hasn’t aged a single day. The film recounts her life through the ages, as she tries to hide her secret from people who may want to try and experiment on her. Changing her identity every few years, she tries to avoid any kind of loving relationship, through the fear of having to watch them die, or never being able to grow old with them. That is until she meets the charming Ellis, a generous philanthropist who is persistent in his pursuit of her. Will she finally let go and give in to love? Or will she continue to keep running for the rest of her everlasting life?
Whilst I was expecting a dreary, sickly sweet vom-fest with Age of Adaline, I actually left the cinema, to my surprise, quite taken with it. My initial concerns began with the film’s narration which, like last year’s Tarzan, there’s a lot of. As a cinema-goer who likes to be shown and not told what’s going on, a film which over uses voiceover, sets alarm bells ringing for me. However, once we get the set up from the narrator – all of which sounds like gobbledegook in truth – we’re allowed to settle into the story.
The film’s weaker first half is made somewhat bearable by the handsome cinematography from David Lanzenberg, which adds a layer of romantic mysticism to an otherwise bland romance. It isn’t until the final act, which has a surprising and legitimately clever sting, that Age of Adaline becomes really interesting. This is, in part, down to Harrison Ford’s appearance as Ellis’ father, with the actor on top form.
The twist is the film’s saving grace, and without it, Age of Adaline would be completely forgettable. It’s still nowhere near perfect, and is a bit of a sloppy, soppy mess. There is more to it than meets the eye though, and I was left with the impression that somewhere within it, there’s a much better directors cut. The Age of Adaline may not be a timeless classic, but it isn’t as bad as you might think either.
Image credit to http://www.finalreel.co.uk