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‘The Age of Adaline’ Review: A Modern Day Romance With Sci-Fi Elements

If you could live forever, what would you do? How would you have a family? Would you live your life in secret, changing homes and aliases every decade? Or would you try to live a normal life? That is exactly what Adaline Bowman must decide in The Age of Adaline.

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) was born on New Year’s Day in 1908. She lived a normal life, grew up, married a young man while she was in her 20s, and gave birth to a baby girl shortly after. After losing her husband in a tragic accident, Adaline dedicated her life to raising her daughter. At age 29 on her way to her family’s summer cottage in Sonoma County, Adaline got into a terrible car accident that left her unable to age.

It’s now the year 2015 and Adaline is living a quiet life working in a library in San Francisco. At a New Year’s Eve party she meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman), a young man whom she grows close to. After living so many decades in a solitary lifestyle with only her daughter (Ellen Burstyn) knowing the truth, Adaline must decide if she wants to open her heart to Ellis and let him know her true story.

Director Lee Toland Krieger (2012’s Celeste and Jesse Forever) gives us a modern fairy tale mixed with classic charm with frequent flashbacks to Adaline in earlier parts of her life. The screenplay by Salvador Paskowitz is whimsical, charming, and romantic but he also dives in to the science fiction elements of the story too. Krieger uses practical effects in the car crash sequences of the story and the payoff is effective and raw. The cinematography is gorgeous, showing the lush landscapes of San Francisco inside and outside the city and the costumes that Lively wears accurately showcase the decades with gorgeous dresses, skirts, headscarves, and overcoats.

It’s been almost three years since we’ve seen Blake Lively on the big screen, we last saw her in 2012’s Savages, and her return here is welcome. Lively is phenomenal as our title character and gives Adaline an old soul who is beautiful inside and out. It’s incredible to watch her in this character throughout the decades, as we see her young and carefree in the 1920s to reserved, quiet and wise in present time.

Lively carries the entire story and has an electric chemistry with her co-star Michiel Huisman and a sweet relationship with her daughter–played by Ellen Burstyn–who is now in her old age. Harrison Ford is fantastic and his performance as William Jones, an old friend of Adaline’s from the 1960s, is one of the best he’s done in years. Sometimes the narrative focuses a little too much on the love story over Adaline herself, which can make the film feel a bit cheesy and clichéd at times, but luckily there’s never a dull moment when Lively and Huisman are on screen together.

Led by a powerful performance by Blake Lively and a strong supporting role by Harrison Ford, The Age of Adaline is a simple story of boy-meets-girl with a sci-fi twist that gives this classic romance tale a little edge and a lot of heart. This film is one that reminds us how precious life is, no matter how long we live and that each day is a gift that we shouldn’t take for granted.

The Age of Adaline opens Friday April 24, 2015.

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