A story about love and freedom – with timeless, sweeping, vintage elements – Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) stars as Adaline, a young widow who’s ageing process has been halted due to a freak car accident. Since then, she has been on the run for almost a century, changing her identity every decade or so in order to prevent authorities or scientists from finding out her secret. However, after years of being burdened with eternal youth, she meets charming philanthropist Ellis (Michiel Huisman), a man whose love may be able to alter her entire existence.
Her first leading role after her teen drama stint in Gossip Girl, Lively demonstrated such elegance and radiance that is fitting for her role. She gives an excellent leading performance with her delicate but palpable feel of anguished loss of love and freedom, highlighting her substantial on-screen growth and transition from television to film. With her classic beauty and grace, Lively’s tall, slender appearance certainly does the eternal youth role justice. Likewise, Huisman produces a solid performance as Adaline’s love interest. However, it is Ellis’ father, William (Harrison Ford) that steals the spotlight. William is the catalyst of Adaline’s sudden onset of assailing memories of the past, triggering her fight of flight instinct. Ford is strong and emotional as William, giving a touching performance that is certainly worthy of his stature and acclaim.
With a grand, sweeping premise, audiences may struggle to take Age of Adaline seriously. A tale of epic romance spanning generations that transcends time, the film utilizes the romantic drama theme that is reminiscent of classic films like The Notebook and Somewhere In Time. Unfortunately, Age of Adaline fails to reach such prestige as a result of overblown storytelling (e.g. divine-like voiceovers that explain backstories). Nonetheless, Krieger still conducts the film with grace and elegance that reflects a timeless charm.
Directed by indie filmmaker Lee Toland Krieger (Celeste and Jesse Forever), Age of Adaline has a wonderful cinematic quality with a vintage aesthetic feel. Filled with vivid, historic shots of San Francisco, cinematographer David Lanzenberg creates a picturesque atmosphere to palpably depict the romantic fantasy genre. With the film spanning through decades, costume designer Angus Strathie produced vivacious and bold costumes that were eye-catching and appropriately depicted the style from 1920s vintage era all the way to the modern 2000s.
A beautiful tale of time, love and the cost of freedom, Age of Adaline is a must watch for romantic drama viewers.
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