The story focuses on Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), a woman born in 1908, who ceases aging after an accident when she’s 29. After running into problems as she attempts to live her life normally, Adaline decides to change her identity every decade, distancing herself from her own daughter, Flemming (Ellen Burstyn). Her new way of living also destroys any chance she has of finding love. Cut to the modern day and Adaline is preparing for another move when she meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman), a philanthropist who is most persistent in winning Adaline’s heart. On Flemming’s suggestion, she gives into Ellis’ advances and he invites her to a celebration of his parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. She agrees and she meets Ellis’ sister, Kiki (Amanda Crew), his mother (Kathy Baker), and his father, William (Harrison Ford). As soon as William sees Adaline, he recognizes her as a girl he romanced back in the 60’s. Adaline tries to convince him that the woman he knew was her mother, but his persistence threatens to unravel her carefully-constructed world.
The film is fairly predictable with the William relationship being a major, almost unbelievable coincidence—it IS a small world, after all. However, it’s a sweet inoffensive film with a good heart. The filmmakers attempt to infuse some scientific reasoning for Adaline’s condition via a Rod Serling-type voiceover that runs throughout the, filling in gaps and narrating flashbacks. I liked a lot of what they did with this one, especially when referencing Adaline’s trials and tribulations of dealing with trying to conceal her identity as well as the humorous references to her true age. It does a decent job of showing how difficult it would be for an immortal to live in this day and age. I will say, though, that I wish they had plumbed the conflict of William possibly figuring out her secret a little deeper. It almost felt like they had Harrison Ford for the weekend and had to bang out his scenes as quickly as possible. There was a lot of potential for drama there that feels glossed over by the final product. William is clearly still haunted by Adaline’s disappearance when he was younger and having a woman show up who looks exactly like her is jarring, but they definitely could have gone deeper with his feelings for her and the effect of that on his current wife.
Lively does a fine job as the woman out of time. She carries herself with a grace and manner that feels born of a long gone past. Huisman is good as the persistent Ellis, but his reasoning for going after Adaline in the first place is fairly superficial. Ford is good as William and this is a role we’ve never seen him in before. I also enjoyed Burstyn as Lively’s daughter. It was funny and sweet to see her call the much younger woman, “Mama.” Also, I have to give a shout out to Anthony Ingruber, who plays Young William and sounds so much like Harrison Ford, I thought Ford may have dubbed the lines.
Overall, The Age of Adaline isn’t a great film, but it’s not terrible either. You definitely need to make some leaps in logic to buy into it, but if you can’t do that in a film featuring a woman who’s immortal, I don’t know how to help you. It might be a good date movie or one to curl up on the couch and watch on cable with your sweetie. Just don’t expect a very deep film.