The Age of Adaline Review

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It's ironic that a film about eternal life should feel like an eternity

by CA Milbrandt May 8, 2015 at 11:07 PM

  • Movies review


    The Age of Adaline Review

    The Age of Adaline tells the uncanny, unlikely story of a woman frozen in her late 20s and the consequences of eternal youth.

    In case you're wondering, all of this business about eternal youth happens because Adaline’s telomeres are frozen from effectively getting struck by lightning. Seriously, how did this screenplay even make it past a treatment? Now I have had the pleasant, good fortune of failing to avoid people pedalling resveratrol creams on the street, and thus I know what it affects; although I’m not so sure the rest of society probably cares.
    OK, now for a quick science lesson. Basically telomeres are the “caps” on the ends of our strands of DNA. As we age, the telomeres shorten and fray, i.e. we get older. Resveratrol is an enzyme found in grapes - hello wine! - and it actually does help to maintain the fidelity of telomeres, but in order to see the benefits, you’d have to drink something like 250 bottles of red wine a day. Basically, Adaline is frozen in time because of some very dodgy “science”.

    The Age of Adaline
    Then the story’s voice of God drones on and on about her life. She’s so perfect, and yet the world is so unfair because if she doesn’t continue to hide her true identity, the government might want to run tests on her. What? Blood samples are scary. This is the point where I first checked my watch...

    And to further tax our suspension of disbelief, her main squeeze in the film happens to have a rather hard time with an American accent. Lead man Michiel Huisman is Dutch, and though he did well on Game of Thrones, he should probably stick to believable accents in the future.

    Next up: no chemistry. I found very little believable in either Lively or Huisman’s characters to convince me there was any kind of love at first date/weekend/whatever. Then we add Harrison Ford aka ‘William’ as Ellis’s (Huisman) dad, to complete the awkward, slightly incestuous love triangle. This is where I checked my watch a second time...

    If Adaline doesn’t hide her true identity, the government might want to run tests on her... Well blood samples are scary.

    The writing is full of cliches and cheesy “See what we did there?” moments, consistently calling attention to itself. You’re not clever if you’re trying to make us all think you’re clever. Yes, I’m talking to you, J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz. And if you think you’re going to get the feminist vote for the film by having Adaline give a one-off “women have to be pink?” moment, you’re dead wrong. Just so wrong.

    Blake Lively was nauseatingly earnest as a 107-year-old, know-it-all. But she’s pretty. Michiel Huisman just isn’t very good at this role. But he’s got abs. I don’t understand how this screenplay slipped through the cracks, to be honest. It had a few nice moments, namely when Adaline’s dog was involved, but overall it just lacked fluidity and subtlety. And with the narrator constantly pulling us out of the diegesis, I found it irritating and difficult to commit to the story.

    I could go on but I won't, although you’re probably wishing I’d stopped at ‘resveratrol’.

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