2015 / Director. Lee Toland Krieger.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
THE AGE OF ADALINE is stunning romantic science fiction film that leaps off the screen with a sweeping romanticism and a perversely engrossing story. Following a freak accident during the 1930s Adaline Bowman stopped ageing. The science behind her condition would not be understood for another 110 years and she was bound to a life of constant change, upheaval and heartache. With a strategy of relocating and assuming new identities every 10 years she is at constant odds with romance, friendship and settlement. It is a life of torment and she negotiates it with education and a constant consumption of information. A young man named Ellis meets her and immediately falls head over heels. Impervious to her rejections he pushes his way into her life and before long she finds herself in the predicament of love... the sort she has only ever felt once before. At risk of sounding melodramatic I was genuinely swept up by this cheeky, clever film. On its own the story could have easily been a hokey and contrived drama in the same insipid vein as most Nicholas Sparks films. Fortunately it is in an entirely different league thanks to a brazen pseudo science and an effective narration. By establishing that the cause of Adaline's condition will not be known until the late 2030's we are forced to accept her disorder without question. It's a smart plot device that excuses whatever liberties the filmmakers took upon themselves. They back their science up with a clever narration that is devoid of emotional attachment. It narrates Adaline's story from an observational perspective, as though she is a case study. This adds a huge level of curiosity to the story, which sparks our inquisitiveness well before it asks for our emotional investment. It's a manipulative structure that will elude most unsuspecting movie-goers while the more astute audiences will appreciate the unique and emotive tricks. The performances are all exceptional with Blake Lively delivering an outstanding turn as the lead character. She has a comprehensive grasp on the character and embodies decades of wisdom and knowledge. She is truly radiant. The support cast is excellent too with Harrison Ford giving a weighty and emotionally charged performance. Director Lee Toland Krieger has crafted a film that seems to be years beyond what his age should afford him. He was previously a protege of the legendary director and playwright Neil LaBute, which may explain his astute handling of the material. THE AGE OF ADALINE is a smart, compelling and romantic film that isn't confined to any one genre and will appeal to almost anyone with a starry-eyed curiosity. Wonderful.