Truly a modern fairytale and an original story by J. Mulls Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, The Age of Adaline tells the story of a woman who miraculously survives a car crash in 1929 and with that also mysteriously escapes the ravages of time. Adaline will never age a day over 29 for centuries to come. The beautiful narration which makes it seem even more fairytale like, informs us the precise date, time, force of the lighting strike, along with many more scientific notations, which will more likely confuse you and make you stare at the screen trying to ignore that little head in your voice than to try to understand the film.
I know what you’re thinking, another sappy love story is about to happen, and I’m not your typical lovely-romantic type of guy. I like my movies to have a little bite. But The Age of Adeline feels like a novel. The poetic approach of this fantasy love story is a plunge into a melancholy song about time and mortality. There is a nice role reversal with a female lead being chased by boys who just moves on when she feels the attachment growing on her.
The movie explores love and loss, running away from situations that cause change to your life, attachments, but also seeing your loved ones grow old. When Adaline meets up with her daughter at the very beginning of the movie, you immediately notice the downsides of this blessing/curse she has. Her daughter is 80 years old. She’s talking about retirement homes. This small talk in the restaurant is a remarkable scene where a mother-daughter relationship is reversed you see a younger woman taking care of an older woman. The daughter (the older lady) keeps begging her mother (the younger) to begin letting people in, maybe because Adaline is faced with the fact that her only true connection to the world will soon fade away. The question here seems to ask what the point of life is, if you can’t grow old with someone.
Adaline has been running all her life. “You’ve lived but you’ve never had a life,” Harrison Ford’s character, William Jones, tells her. She’s been on the run since the authorities have asked her to prove her age and then followed by agents. Not wanting be the subject of an experiment, she begins moving around and never shares her secret with anyone. Although, all that means is she changes her clothing ever century or so, and similarly, changes cities.
Blake Lively does a remarkable job of acting a centenarian of 107, vocalizing her emotions and communicating about what’s hidden inside her Pandora’s box of vulnerability, but if it were not for Harrison Ford the movie may not have worked out so well. His character presents a good contrast to another male character, the young man Adaline falls for: the overly perfect billionaire who gives to charity, brings her on dates under the streets of San Francisco to look at old wreckage of ships that had landed decades ago — the representative of an energetic good-hearted man, nothing else. He’s flawless, yet boring. William Jones, on the other hand, has been married for 40 years and as soon as he sees Adaline emerging from the past, his whole world begins to feel the presence of this old flame with whom he never saw closure. Seeing Ford play such a vulnerable part is truly a phenomenal thing, considering he’s not shown to be so vulnerable in the roles he plays.
I’d hate to admit that I’ve gone soft for this movie, but maybe it’s the realistic approach to a fairytale, maybe the poetic and almost painterly approach the film has visually, maybe the melancholy of living for centuries. It’s fantasy, it’s realism, it’s a fairy tale, and it’s beautiful. I hope this movie finds its niche and is appreciated for what it has tried to do, and that is be unique… and maybe one day we will see an action remake of this fairytale.
The Age of Adaline is in the theatres now.