Directed by Lee Toland Krieger to a screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, The Age of Adaline is a romantic drama with elements of fantasy. It stars Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, and Ellen Burstyn.
While a story about a character that doesn’t age is nothing new, The Age of Adaline, by first impression, seems to have a fresh angle, highlighting the loneliness a person who lives through the ages must feel. Yet, that alone cannot sustain a full-length feature. The production is further hampered by the use of "The voice of God;" a narrator that explains the scientific (albeit fictional) facts to us, the audience. This is not only unnecessary but rather distracting, borderline insulting. In another film concerning time and fantasy, the masterpiece Groundhog Day, I do not recall anyone needing to give a reason why the clock must reset itself at 6AM every morning. We took that for granted because we go to the movies seeking fiction, not a scientific news report. For the latter we can stay home and watch The Learning Channel.
Krieger’s direction, I am sorry to report, is mediocre at best. The director feels freedom to break basic filmmaking rules for no rhyme or reason. By doing so he further distracts the audience from the story.
With the exception of Lively and Ford, acting is poor, tending to the superfluous, and making one feel most members of the supporting cast are reading from a script rather than inhibating their characters. The film’s saving grace and the main reason I am giving it three stars rather than two, is Blake Lively. She acts the part with exceptional dignity and credibility, so much so that I was ready to believe she really exists. Round and about, Adaline is an old name, hardly used today, that was more popular back in 1901. Of German origin, the name means noble and honorable. And that, my friends, is a fact...
The only other notable performance is by Harrison Ford, who appears later in the film but leaves a positive impression. Ford provides Lively with a real character to be challenged by.
The Age of Adaline may feel epic at times, yet ultimately it ends up saying close to nothing. While having its moments, this film is neither a science fiction flick nor a historical period piece; it has not much in terms of a great romance nor is it a commentary about time, karma and the role chance has in our lives. Thus I recommend you save yourself precious time: no need to rush see this one at the theater.