The Age Of Adaline

Director: Lee Toland Krieger (2015)

A woman who never grows old falls for a much younger man in this weird fantasy romance.

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) lives alone, is kind to her dog, speaks in a breathy register and laughs at her own jokes.

Although really 107 years old, a mysterious event when she was 29 has prevented her from ageing.

Ever since the FBI tried to arrest her for being a suspected threat to the US, she’s been dodging the authorities and running away from love and commitment.

She changes addresses and identities every ten years, allowing the Costume and Make-up deptartments (Angus Strathie, Monica Huppert) to make Lively look lovely in all the major fashions of the twentieth century.

Plus it usefully acts as a visual shorthand for whatever decade we find ourselves in during one of the many flashbacks.

Her only friend is piano player Regan (Lynda Boyd) which suggests Adaline has been seeking out blind people to hang with as they don’t recognise her lack of ageing.

At a New Year’s Eve party she meets the hunky, needy, pushy yet altruistic internet millionaire Ellis (Michiel Huisman).

He’s not as endearing as the film imagines him to be and Adaline tries to reject his advances due to their secret age difference.

There are several dates, shooting stars, snow storms, two car accidents and a drive-in movie.

Despite Adaline’s reservations she agrees to visit Ellis’s parents where someone kindly explains the rules of Trivial Pursuit for those watching who haven’t played it.

It leads to a big surprise for his dad Bill (Harrison Ford) on the eve of his fortieth wedding anniversary to Kathy (Kathy Baker).

Ford seems energised for the first time in years and is allowed a door-smashing moment. Perhaps being back home on the Falcon is therapeutic.

However it’s at this point the heavy air of sentimental nostalgia curdles and becomes creepily uncomfortable.

A gravelly voice over by Hugh Ross offers the only grit available as well as the illusion of a patina of science.

San Francisco looks fabulous and the true romance on show is between the city and cinematographer David Lanzenberg.

Scriptwriters J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz are also enamoured of the city, highlighting it’s history as a leader of technological innovation.

Somebody ought to point out to the writers gifting first editions of famous novels only counts as romantic if there is a financial, emotional or other cost to the donor.

A millionaire dishing out rare works to relative strangers they wish to bed smacks not of romance but thoughtless opportunism.

The Age Of Adaline suggests grey hair and wrinkles are the gateway to true love; a sly commentary on women who can’t accept growing old and resort to going under the knife.

But if you want to send this sort of message then it’s important to create an effective and engaging delivery system first.

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