Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review of THE AGE OF ADALINE: Love of a Lifetime

May 24, 2015




When I went to see this film, I had no idea what this was going to be about. The trailer was good, because it was interesting without letting on what exactly the central story would be. All I saw was a love story about a woman named Adaline and the men in her life. With the word "Age" in the title, I guessed that there would be a time component to the story, maybe time-travel. 

It turns out this was not the case, and I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, it is impossible to write about this film without spoiling some plot details. I could stop here and say that this was a very well-made and well-acted romance film that spans decades, with excellent period details. Ladies, in particular, will enjoy watching this and probably shed a tear or two at certain parts. But for those who have seen it or those who do not mind knowing more about the story, do read on as I write more of my thoughts about this film. I will still try to avoid mentioning too much plot detail.

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Adaline Bowman was an ordinary woman born on New Year's Eve 1908. When she was 29 years old, her chromosomes were altered by an interaction of hypothermia and a high-voltage electrical shock, freezing her at that age for the rest of her life (a scientific phenomenon yet to be explained in the year 2035). Fearing discovery by authorities, Adaline was forced to live on the run, changing identities and residences every ten years. She shunned all forms of human relationships as much she could avoid, with only her daughter Flemming knowing her secret.

However, on New Year's Eve 2014, under her current name of Jennifer Larson, Adaline meets the charismatic young man named Ellis Jones. As Adaline falls for his charms, her deep-seated fears once again surface. Will she abandon Ellis again as she did several other men in her past and deny herself happiness? Or will she finally abandon her apprehensions and settle down with a man she loves?

This is a film about a woman with eternal youth. Thankfully, this is NOT about a vampire again. The approach of this very charming film is dramatic romance, with fantasy as its fanciful embellishment. The production design, costume and hair/makeup people have their work cut out for them as they had to painstakingly recreate each and every decade in Adaline's life. Their meticulous work deserve awards consideration as these were of excellent quality, enhancing this film's timeless theme. 

Blake Lively portrayed Adaline Bowman as a strong, refined, dignified lady, not prone to hysterics. She has to convey all her inner turmoil with her eyes and her beautiful face. I believe she pulled it off very well, and she brings us along with her charmed life with its difficult decisions. This film rides on her shoulders and she carries it with grace and confidence. It also helps that she has a timeless beauty that fit in any of the time periods her character was in. She must have been a dream-come-true for those costume and makeup guys as she can carry any look gorgeously.

Playing the wealthy and cultured philanthropist Ellis Jones is Dutch actor Michiel Huisman. I know this actor as the new Daario Naharis, the Khaleesi's consort on Season 4 of "Game of Thrones." He projects a goofy charm about him. His chemistry with Blake Lively was not immediately electric, but it steadily developed as the film went along. When he gratuitously appeared onscreen only clad in a towel with his chest and abs exposed, you knew that this film was primarily targeted for the ladies. 

Harrison Ford plays Ellis' father William, an astronomer who is celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife Kathy (Kathy Baker). Ellis brought Adaline (as Jennifer) home with him to celebrate his parents' life milestone. But when William sees Adaline, ... I will not say more. Suffice it to say that Harrison Ford gives the best and most memorable performance of his recent career in this film since his star dimmed in the past two decades. I hope his work here will not be forgotten come awards season.

Ellen Burstyn is delightful as Adaline's daughter Flemming in her senior years. When daughter began to look older than mother, they were forced to live apart. Her best scene was that when Adaline introduces her to Ellis for the first time. Her face spoke volumes of emotion pent up through the years and it was so beautiful to witness. 

As told by director Lee Toland Krieger, Adaline's story was shown as a series of flashbacks intercutting with present-day scenes when memories were triggered by current situations. It employs a voice-over narration which sounded very much like what you would hear on an old documentary film reel. The effect was a bit confusing at first, but you would get used to this voice as it interjects itself to explain odd circumstances. 

I liked how it mixed in historical facts and places in San Francisco to drive the story along. The pseudo-scientific jargon explanations were inventive, fictional as they were. At least it wasnt another vampire's bite or witch's spell that caused this to happen. There are some funny lines subtly delivered here and there to lighten up the mood. Best of these was when Flemming was commenting how very few photographs Adaline had, and Adaline quipped, "You've seen one, you've seen them all." 

I am not really a fan of romance films. However, this one caught my attention because of its time-bending theme and historical touches in its storytelling. Ladies will like this love story and its heroine quite instinctively. Their dates will also have interesting things to see, the lovely face and striking silhouette of Blake Lively not being the least of them. 8/10.


22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It is in cinemas this week, May! Last three days maybe.

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    2. Was able to catch it, whew! I love it. Blake Lively did a tremendous job here.

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  2. I've watched snippets of the trailer and thought it'll just be another cheesy romance film. guess I was wrong! definitely going to catch this!

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  3. I don't think I've ever watched Blake Lively in anything serious before. It looks so interesting! :)

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  4. Your words are very enticing that reader like me can actually get the story. I love this kind of movie wherein storytelling and acting have an essence to the whole film.

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  5. I would love to see this movie. And thank you, this is not another vampire story. Not that I hate it, but there's just too many books and flicks about vampire romance.

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  6. I laughed at your vampire remark. Yeah, it's refreshing to see a movie that talks about eternal youth sans the immortality part. I will definitely see this film. It has a great plot and I'm curious with how it's going to end. I have several questions right now but hopefully they'd be answered when I watch this. It's just strange that I have not seen the trailer of this.

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  8. I have a copy na of this one. But so hesitant to watch it. Akala ko typical love story. I was so wrong.. Thanks for the review. Eager na ako to watch it as soon as my arrives home.

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  9. not getting any older or getting immortal i think is a sad life... this move maybe a fiction but it touches my heart how love could be everlasting...

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  10. Sorry Fred but I stopped reading your review before the asterisks. I want to watch this myself and see what it's about. Hehe.

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  11. This is something I would watch. I saw the trailer the other day and I love Blake lively

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  12. Thanks Fred, this does sound like one movie the ladies will love. Girls night out soon!

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  13. A friend mentioned this movie to me. Quite interesting plot. I yet to watch this. I think I have seen it featured in some news item and took notice of Blake Lively's acting. I just forgot if it was a positive remark.

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  14. I've seen this on my newsfeed recently. Recommending this to my girl friends. :-)

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  15. I think Blake Lively is perfect for the role of Adeline since she has a youthful glow in her. It looks something interesting to watch especially for ladies.

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  16. Thanks for the review and precaution. Will definitely get ready my bucket and towel to wipe my tears away. lol

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  17. I wasn't planning to catch the film, perhaps because the cast and storyline didn't really appeal to me. It's nice to read this from someone who has read before. I might not catch it in the cinemas though...

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  18. I've been really intrigued when I saw the trailer for this film. Not sure if my bf would want to watch this with me though. Lol! But, I'll be sure to catch this in cinemas! :)

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  19. I was really looking forward to watching this movie, but it just had its final run in theaters! Ugh. Your review makes me want to see if there is any theater still showing it!!

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