Let it never be said that I’m a simple man. I only saw this movie because Harrison Ford was riding backseat. I knew very little of what I was getting into, except that it looked like a good movie to take my non-girlfriend to, and the chap I took with wasn’t feeling particularly open-minded.
But once every sparrow-fart a movie will deem your puerile masculinity void and leave you not with a guilty pleasure, but something you’ll unashamedly evangelise.
Adaline is essentially an exploration of suffering and intimacy over a lengthy life. Through the credulous explanation of a lightning strike, Adaline no longer ages, is now more than 100 years old, and proceeds to hide her L’Oreal secret from all but her daughter.
It has the same problem as Edge of Tomorrow – it can’t enjoy its own premise unless it scientifically validates it (and I say that with huge quotation marks). Again like all those months ago I ask – why can’t we just have fun with our ideas? We live in a culture that only takes seriously what can be explained. The need to insecurely legitimise any creative license, regardless of how far-fetched it may be, is not a habit movies want to be adopting.
Adaline is anything if largely predictable. All of its major turning points are taken directly from the lecture hall, everything in between however is not. Adaline herself comes across as so socially advanced, no guy would be able to keep up in the conversational chess of quips and body language. Yet along comes someone who can and also can’t really.
What makes the film so intriguing is not only its fantastical look at grief and love, but how it fills the time. Adaline genuinely comes across as someone with a century’s worth of experience. I don’t know how such a person would walk and talk, but I imagine it would be somewhat how Blake Lively portrays it. The writers obviously knew a person so well-lived would need dialogue in equal measure. The result is a character with a quiet self-confidence, who no longer frets about the things most people do – who moves like she has time and speaks like she’s had plenty.
Besides its foreseeable story and insistence on trying to ground fantasy elements in reality, The Age of Adeline is intelligently excellent in all the rest. This is a film that’s more concerned with character than plot events. It will charm you, it will humour you, and might even make you a little sad. It’s also got Harrison Ford.