‘Adaline’ lacks emotion from leading lady
Experiences, celebrations and successes yield memories – some remain vivid, others fade. They accumulate, jumble, repeat and new ones take their place as life goes forward. For Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), she’s permanently affixed genetically to a 30- and 40-something woman’s standard white lie: I’m 29.
Adaline continues living but never aging – no gray hair, no wrinkles, no menopause, no trouble going up and down stairs. Science, fantasy or a magical, random act during a magical snowfall on New Year’s Eve in sweaty California, could all be the reason she remains a stunning, radiant 29, no matter where she hides to prevent becoming a scientific poke and jab specimen.
The men obviously line up to enter her life but she runs, knowing they will not age together like a normal man and wife.
Accenting her identity tweaks, “Age of Adaline” incorporates a bit of the haste of witness protection security. Lively mostly restrains her emotions -except when it comes to her daughter and dying dog – which means you’re not going to be pulling out tissues, though you see tears in Lively’s eyes.
After establishing the futility of love relationships – or at least serious ones -Adaline’s about to succumb to a handsome benefactor (Michiel Huisman) at the library where she works. That leads to an evening meeting his family, including dad (Harrison Ford), who has past history with Adaline.
Lively, Huisman and Ford form an acting triumvirate that awkwardly jells. Reality trumps magic. Considering the aforementioned emotional restraints, the product doesn’t solidly envelop viewers in the highlights of her extended 29 lifetimes. To borrow cliches, when challenges occur she let’s it go by running to a new geographic location, all of which have an all too familiar sense of ease in falling in and out of lives like a series of endless Ground Hog Day reruns.
“Adaline” focuses too much on the “me surviving,” and not integrating her fountain of youth condition with other interactions, except fleeting mystic flashback memories of those she left behind.
Director Lee Toland Krieger briefly captures the sumptuous elegance of past decades. The audience will not fathom the broken hearts, angst, suspense and wonder of “Somewhere in Time,” “Time After Time,” “If Only,” “Lake House” or “Berkley Square” (a.k.a. “I’ll Never Forget You”), where you care and shed tears.
Give her (“Adaline”) a chance, maybe, I’m just desiring a little more sentiment than current couple norms.