The Age of Adaline

Leanora Collett
13th Apr 2015

Blake Lively is best known for her role as Serena in the TV Series Gossip Girl. Now, starring in The Age of Adaline as a 29 year old, she takes on a century of period costumes, lovers and sacrifices that keeps her running for almost eight decades.

Following an accident, Adaline miraculously stops ageing, and remains 29 years old from the 1930s to 2015. Her predicament forces her to leave her daughter and uproot her life each decade to avoid detection. As she is about to leave one alias behind, she falls in love with the young philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman, Game of Thrones and Orphan Black). A chance meeting with his parents (Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker) threatens to uncover the truth and Adaline questions if she should stop running.

This movie’s fundamental flaw is when the narrator attempts to logically explain how Adaline could stop ageing at 29 years old. The idea itself is not logical and the plot would have been stronger had the writers established her agelessness as a fact from the beginning. The Time Traveller's Wife and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button both share similar plot lines and the ‘magic’ or phenomenon underpinning the plot is established from the get-go, so there isn’t a need to explain it to the audience. As a result the narration overcompensates and makes the main plotline even less plausible. 

Of course the audience gets carried away with the blossoming love between Adaline and Ellis. There are a number of meet-cutes scenes that create a sense of romance in the film. Prior to this, Adaline lived alone with her dog and kept her secret from the world. As her love grows for Ellis, she questions if she should confide in him and stay in San Francisco.

The film also stars Harrison Ford who plays William, the father of Adaline's current lover but who himself knew Adaline, a few decades before. Without revealing too much, the relationship between William and Adaline is an interesting one and of the more believable subplots in the film.

As the film spans a century so do the costumes, which take the audience on a historical fashion show from the 1930s to 00s. It is clear that Adaline has been collecting key pieces throughout the decades and continues to wear dresses from the 40s well into the 21st century. In the ball scene, Adaline is wearing a gorgeous floor-length gown with padded shoulders and a plunging neckline, which is the same dress that Adaline is seen to be wearing in the 30s. The costume designer, Angus Strathie, known for his Academy Award-winning costuming on Moulin Rouge, has commented that Adaline’s wardrobe needed to incorporate contemporary and vintage pieces that help to tell the story.

Despite the film spanning a century, there were very few references to historical events, which would have helped transport the audience through the ages. Between Blake Lively’s pursed lips, the over-wrought explanation of Adaline’s agelessness and the great period costumes, the film is enjoyable but a far cry from a standout.

The Age of Adaline opens in Australian cinemas on April 16.