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DVD Review by Diane McCurdy - The Age of Adaline

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DVD Review by Diane McCurdy
The Age of Adaline

By Diane McCurdy

The phenomenon of snow in Sonoma County functions as a major plot point in the film, The Age of Adaline. No spoilers here. I won’t say what the twist is but it was startling and exciting to hear the narrator’s voice describe the unusual, indeed extraordinary event which occurs twice in the film. I started thinking, when was the last time we got an actual dusting of the white flakes in our environs......twenty years ago?

The Age of Adaline is a charming melodrama, surreal and sophisticated whose premise lies on some lofty sounding, hypothetical, pseudo-scientific double talk. The success of the film, however, lies squarely on the shoulders of Blake Lively, she of the ethereal beauty. A statuesque blond, Lively was in the first trimester of pregnancy during production which perhaps made her exude an other worldly, spiritual loveliness. She projects both the elegant, icy appeal of Grace Kelly and the vulnerable warmth of Marilyn Monroe. Other than her signature debut in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Lively has worked notably with Oliver Stone in Savages and Ben Affleck in The Town.

The film is about a woman who after experiencing a traumatic occurrence ceases to age. She remains 29 forever. Books and movies about this time defying concept are not new. There have been many thematic incarnations. Dorian Grey, for example, in the classic novel by Oscar Wilde, was a disreputable character who didn’t age but every despicable action he committed was etched on his portrait. Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth was a low point in his career. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fared a little better for David Fincher. “Adaline” succeeds because it is more gentle in its unfolding, melancholy and unpretentious.

Basically our heroine is an 107 soul trapped in the body of a 29 year old. We meet her as she picks up forged identity papers . Because of the inevitability of her being treated like a freak, studied and scrutinized, she changes her identity every ten years and moves around the globe. Because of her static state, and wouldn’t the stitched and botoxed ladies of Hollywood envy her, she has avoided any intimacy. A librarian we get a back story when she organizes sepia-toned, historical, archival footage. She is just about to bolt when she meets Ellis, Michiel Huisman of Game of Thrones. He is a gorgeous hunk, the epitome of a Northern California bohemian, philanthropist, the 21st. Century version of Prince Charming , a techie billionaire. Can she resist becoming involved? She is encouraged by her octogenarian daughter played by Ellen Burstyn in several truly ironic scenes. Adaline weakens enough to go with Ellis to meet his parents. Ellis’ father, Harrison Ford, looks at Adaline with a twinkle in his eye. Ah, I can say no more.

The other star of the film is San Francisco. Adaline walking the streets of Chinatown in her trench coat creates a moody, noirish ambiance. The bridges are captured not stereotypically but at bizarre angles. The city’s magnificent skyline dazzles at night. The film is seductively enchanting, magical.