A lot of the times, I anticipate films based on its director or cast, but in this case, it’s the premise that intrigued me. I wish there are more fantasy romance like this made. It seems that a lot of romantic films are either rom-coms or something utterly tragic. Then there’s the Nicholas Sparks variety which I tend to avoid.
The fact that it’s a fantasy romance, a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy this film. But hey, we don’t have issues with a plethora of superhero movies requiring that, so why not a romantic film?
Right from the start, I was intrigued by the protagonist, who basically becomes immortal after a car accident so she always looks 29 throughout the movie. We meet Adaline when she’s around 107 years old, who’s settled into her eternal existence, having to move every decade with a series of fake identities to prevent people from knowing who she is. The only person who knows about her condition is her only daughter (Ellen Burstyn) who looks like she could be Adaline’s grandma. Burstyn adds a lot of depth in her brief role here, but Lively holds her own against the experienced Oscar winner.
The way the story unfolds is pretty straightforward but it’s so beautifully-told with a series of flashbacks that are done pretty seamlessly. The use of VO narration can be irksome, but I don’t mind it so much here, even though it’s a bit overdone in the end.
The first meet-up at a New Year’s Eve party is breathtakingly perfect. Two good looking strangers lock eyes from across the room that’s followed by a sweet flirtation in an elevator. Michiel Huisman‘s Ellis has all the qualities of a romantic hero – handsome, smart, successful and an old-school romantic, what more could you ask for? Surely Game of Thrones‘ fans are familiar with his um, work. Huisman is Dutch but his American accent is very convincing, but most importantly, he has a great chemistry with Blake Lively and you actually root for them to be together.
I haven’t seen anything Lively is in, apart from her brief role in The Town, but I think she did a fine job carrying this film. She’s beautiful and has a phenomenal figure that make those vintage clothes look amazing. She also has that classic look about her that fit the role. Some actresses might look too modern here, but Lively also has that quiet grace about her that is so elegant and bewitching. They initially wanted Natalie Portman in the role and she would’ve been good, but I think the fact that Lively is a bit of an unlikely casting actually works well for the film. That said, I feel that she might not have the dramatic chops to pull off some of the heavy emotional moments that a more skilled actress could bring to the role.
The supporting cast are particularly notable, especially Harrison Ford as Ellis’ father and his younger self, played by Anthony Ingruber whose physical resemblance is uncanny. Even their voice sound similar. I LOVE Ford’s performance here, he doesn’t do romantic roles often but he’s got that lovelorn look down pat here.
Now, with a romance like this one, a certain degree of schmaltzy-ness is to be expected. Yet there’s a genuine sweetness and charm in this one that swept me off my feet. Yes there are moments where the dialog comes off corny and the plot is rather predictable, but nothing that would derail the film for me.
I was convinced this film was based on a novel, as so many films like this are, but it turns out it wasn’t. It’s written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz and I love the idea of lost love interwoven here in Adaline’s enchanting long life. I hadn’t heard of the director, Lee Toland Krieger, but he’s certainly got style as this film looks positively gorgeous. The costume and cinematography are so beautiful to behold, and the set pieces fit each era perfectly. The various San Francisco locations, such as the library where Adaline works, look so charming here, especially in the night scenes.
I also like the use of music, featuring vintage and contemporary songs over the course of Adaline’s life. It just sets the mood nicely and gives you that swoony quality the film aims for. I went into this film with neutral expectations, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. In fact I love it enough where I certainly don’t mind watching it again.
Have you seen Age of Adaline? Well, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
28 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: The Age of Adaline (2015)”
Was kinda curious to screen this. Maybe I will now. Thanks, Ruth.
I really enjoyed this one Michael. It’s an old school romance and it looks beautiful! I think you might enjoy this, and the music, too 🙂
I surprisingly enjoyed this film. I really thought it was going to be hokey and pandering, but my low expectations were pleasantly surpassed.
Hello, welcome to FC! Yeah I had no idea what to expect as I don’t know the filmmaker/lead cast but I ended up really liking it. Not hokey at all, it’s actually pretty sweet.
I really enjoyed this film, especially the fact that the mother-daughter relationship between Lively and Burstyn was made believable. Their scenes together were some of my favorites.
Hello Lindsey! Oh yeah, the mother/daughter relationship between Lively & Burstyn is one of my fave aspects of the film too. I think Lively holds her own against the more experienced actress so it didn’t come out awkward at all.
Your review, Ruth, was the more positive of a few I’ve read. I’m more interested than not; Il like the mother daughter relationship. The cast sure looks good. Thanks for selling it.
Ahah, well I often go against the crowd so not surprised. I went in w/ no expectations but I like the story and I ended up liking the way it’s executed. I’m not *selling* anything, just posting my opinion 🙂
Of course. You are persuasive, just the same.
Ahah thank you. I really didn’t expect to love the film as much as I did (it didn’t have Stanley in it, ha!) but it really was quite enchanting w/ lovely music.
I was bored by it. I liked that it was set in San Francisco, and I watched it on the plane on the way home from there.
Ahah well you hated Blake Lively and I get that. She is hard to relate to, esp this character. I’m not familiar w/ her at all but I find myself enjoying this. I actually don’t like watching movies on a plane, I often dislike things more than when I watch it any other time. Not that I think that’s the reason, I’m just saying in general 🙂
Good review Ruth. Better than I expected because it was surprisingly heartfelt and humane. Even despite the goofy premise, of course.
Hi ya Dan! Yes heartfelt and humane is right. I think I was most impressed by Lively as I didn’t think she’s capable carrying off an emotional role but she did well here.
Great review. I’m definitely gonna have to watch the film now 🙂
Hi Tiffany! Yeah, give it a shot. I’m not familiar w/ Lively at all so I have really no opinion of her. I think she’s quite good in this role. Plus Huisman is VERY hunky 😉
Great review! I definitely need to catch this one!
Hello Courtney! If you are in the mood for a swoony romance, can’t go wrong w/ this one. I don’t mind seeing it again, it’s quite a sweet film & the cinematography is beautiful!
Thanks for reminding me the great components on this movie. I too loved it. Lively was great, but like you said, she might lack of depth on emotional scenes. Portman might’ve mastered it, but that’s no surprise. First time I saw Huisman here, he was so hunky 😀
Did you avoid Sparks’ The Notebook too?
Hi Andina! I’m glad you love this. I think having Portman would elevate the drama but the fact that I’m not as familiar w/ Lively makes the film more fresh in my eyes. I’ve never seen Huisman before but I’m glad they didn’t cast more famous Hollywood actors, he’s VERY hunky but he’s a decent actor.
No I actually did see The Notebook but I’m not as enamored w/ it as most people do. I still don’t care for Gosling.
This looked to be up your alley Ruth; pleased to read you enjoyed this. Great review as well!
Hi Mark, yes it is but still I wasn’t sure if I was gonna love it given I’m not familiar w/ the main cast. But it’s quite a beautiful & sweet movie.
Glad you liked it. I skipped it in theaters, but I’m going to watch it soon. 🙂
I had a feeling this is right up my alley, even though I never saw Lively in anything. But I ended up loving it, I might even buy the movie!
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