There are, like always, some spoilers.
Before reading this review there are two fundamental things you need to be aware of; first, I’m not particularly a fan of romantic movies in general and secondly, I’m not particularly a fan of Blake Lively and her body of work. So you could imagine my surprise when I was walking out of the cinema with a smile on my face because The Age of Adaline is actually a pretty good movie.
The Age of Adaline has a very unrealistic premise, it is about Adaline (Blake Lively) who gets into a car accident and through some combined factors of nature stops aging. She goes through life by changing her name every now and then, moving from city to city and simply lives in fear of revealing her secret to somebody. The movie starts with a narration that describes her life before the accident and continues with the present where Adaline is ready to move on with another new alias. But during a New Year’s Eve party she meets a handsome man named Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman).
Adaline, at first, is against the idea of a new romance but since Ellis is very persistent, she agrees to go on a date with him and there’s no surprise in the fact that they fall into love. There’s nothing surprising about this turn of events, and to be honest, the whole plot of The Age of Adaline is predictable but it doesn’t really matter because it’s a nice movie! Even the fact that a man from Adaline’s past happens to be her new boyfriend’s father is pretty obvious and yet, it isn’t the surprise factor that the movie needs to achieve – it is the sweetness that it aspires towards and succeeds with.
Blake Lively, and I never thought I would say this, is perfectly cast as Adaline since she does have that timeless feel to her. But the strength of her performance lies in the character because Adaline is written perfectly. One of my favorite aspects of the movie is the fact that Adaline doesn’t go far and beyond to fit in and is instead very nostalgic about the past. Her style, her manners and her taste is strongly related to the 30’s and 40’s, though it is shown that she did dabble in the 60/70’s style back in the day. Adaline is also very educated and has a knack for languages which would go well with my assumption that she kept herself occupied throughout the years by constantly studying. Being interested in books and history could be the reason she never went insane nor tried to kill herself because there always seemed to be something more to learn.
The fact that I am able to make such assumptions on her character means that The Age of Adaline managed to create a much better female lead than any other romantic movie I’ve seen in a long time. There’s a depth to her, the kind that makes her interesting and a joy to watch. But nothing is more enjoyable on The Age of Adaline than Ellis Jones and Michiel Huisman portraying him because oh my god. That man is delicious not only because he is tall, has a beard and is overall handsome but because Ellis as a character is pretty much perfect. He, just like Adaline, is also intelligent, interested in books and history and it’s actually unbelievable that he is still single when he meets Adaline.
As the movie proceeds gradually towards the end game that leaves us happy and content, there are many moments of pure happiness as well as sadness. There are some great scenes of humor in The Age of Adaline but there is also the constant fear for Adaline that she is not able to commit to an actual relationship due to her condition. Ellis is perfect, she herself admits that by revealing that he has been the only man in her life she has thought about telling her big secret, and it’s almost heartbreaking to see her leave Ellis. I say almost because we all know how the movie ends and it’s alright, like I said, it’s the sweet factor that this movie succeeds on.
The Age of Adaline reminds me a lot of About Time, both movies have an unrealistic plot and a love story that simply makes you smile. What works in Adaline better is the leading lady because, like I said, she is a very interesting character who has many layers to her and it would be interesting to revisit the movie to see whether there is something I missed about her. Also, there is the very handsome reason of watching Huisman on screen over and over again because that man is everything. Plus, the fact that his character gave books as flowers to Adaline is pure genius and won me over right away.
On a final note I want to say that I probably liked The Age of Adaline a lot more because I expected almost nothing. I was so certain it was going to fail due to the fact that I didn’t like Lively but she proved me wrong. So though I said I wasn’t surprised by the plot, I must admit that I was surprised by Blake Lively and her character because it all worked out for the better. That being said, the movie could have done it without that horrific narrator in the beginning and in the end – it was both creepy and a bit off putting to say at least.