At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE AGE OF ADALINE (Lionsgate)

By , • Sep 28th, 2015 •

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For about an hour the film is a pleasant science-fantasy-romance about Adaline, a woman who can’t age, and her stand-offish attempts to evade notice and lead a very quiet normal life, even while an unwanted suitor invades her space.

Halfway through the narrative, however, Harrison Ford enters, and suddenly a painful conundrum takes hold and the film asks us to sympathize with all involved. It’s a terrific, supporting performance by Ford and it would be downright weird if he weren’t nominated for the Supporting Actor Oscar this year.

Ms. Lively, on the other hand, is certainly good, but isn’t given a particularly sympathetic role to inhabit. Adaline is closed in, guarded, cynical and, in refusing to have fun with her suitor, keeps us at arm’s length as well. And Michael Huisman, as the tall young suitor, is not initially appealing either (though that is okay for a little while – narrative arc and all), and his threat to withdraw his offer to support a local library unless she go out with him is disingenuous. Neither of them is charming enough to make the other fall in love. And when he eventually says how much she means to him, it rings false: she’s been denying him everything, particularly on an emotional level. None of the legitimate energy between her and Ford, by contrast, exists between her and Huisman

Director Lee Toland Krieger provides a friendly, halting commentary in which he acknowledges Paul Thomas Anderson and David Fincher as having given the exemplary commentaries accompanying their films, particularly Anderson’s BOOGIE NIGHTS. When he reaches the Harrison Ford intro scene he marvels at anyone having the audacity (meaning himself) to have Ford appear fifty minutes into a film. Actually its 61 minutes, but who’s counting? He feels that Ford’s interaction with Lively when they first meet is the best scene in the film. We agree. He explains that Ford and Lively hadn’t met each other before their first scene was shot, making the uncomfortable nature of the scene particularly effective, and that Ford asked if his scenes could be shot sequentially in order to capture all the nuanced emotions, and the director gladly obliged.

An uneven work, but also unusual and not clichéd, which is in its favor. Viewers who disdain Hollywood’s typical rom-com fare should feel safe wading into these waters.

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One Response »

  1. Maybe Roy and Jennifer forgot what it is to fall in love and the anguish one must endure when all goes awry. This film is all about love (in this case, first loves) and the joy of having the opportunity to enjoy the time together. Adaline is deprived of this possibility and, for the sake of the men she has fallen for, must painfully deny herself of this human joy. Blake Lively is excellent! She must keep the essence of who Adaline is, decade after decade, but adapt to the ever changing world around her. Blake does this so well, so delicately, that you believe her every time. If they – the critics really understood the process of the actor – they too would praise her performance as much as Harrison Ford. What I am saying is almost all the women I spoke to love this movie and Blake’s performance. I, too, think Blake should be nominated for her excellence as an actress. This was a very complex role that not many actors could pull it off. But she does! I believed her from the first frame to the last. Blake should have a vibrant career ahead of her. I also have to say the director, cinematographer and writer created a wonder film that is gaining momentum on cable. Roy and Jennifer go fall in love again!

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