Sunday, September 6, 2015
Video review: "The Age of Adaline"
A bit of romantic trifle with a science fiction twist, “The Age of Adaline” is most hurt by its main star, and most helped by a late-arriving supporting player.
Blake Lively isn’t given enough to do by the script, which posits her as a San Francisco woman whose strange, electrified car crash in 1929 prevents her from aging any more. She wanders through time, trading identities every decade or so to prevent suspicion, her only permanent connection being her daughter, who today has become an old lady played by Ellen Burstyn.
Still, Lively’s performance is drab and emotionally unaffecting. She becomes a Zelig-like figure, someone who shows up everywhere but leaves little trace of their passing.
Adaline has been careful to avoid romantic entanglements for obvious reasons, but now a new beau (Michiel Huisman) has wandered into her life and knocked over some emotional furniture. Soon they’re an item and making long-term plans together – longer, perhaps, than he knows.
It’s a pretty straightforward story, with some flat, dry narration to make things even duller than they might already be.
Then Harrison Ford turns up about halfway through the movie as Adaline’s boyfriend’s dad, and suddenly the movie takes off. Ford, not exactly known as an overly emotive actor, shows us all kinds of vulnerability and doubt that we don’t usually see from cinema’s most reliable heroic everyman.
I won’t give away the details of what transpires, other than to say some old painful memories are dredged up.
Despite the slow start and the underwhelming protagonist, “The Age of Adaline” eventually finds its footing.
Director Lee Toland Krieger provides a feature-length commentary for the special features, which are the same for both DVD and Blu-ray editions. There are also deleted scenes and three featurettes: “A Love Story for the Ages,” “Style Throughout the Ages” and “Discovering Young Harrison Ford: Anthony Ingruber, An Online Sensation.”
Note: Ingruber gained notoriety for his YouTube impressions of Ford and other famous actors, which eventually led to this gig. He is indeed eerily reminiscent of a 1970s Harrison Ford.