The Age of Adaline Blu-ray Review
Romantic dramas with a hint of the supernatural are always a risky proposition, but if told correctly with great actors, they can hit an emotional level a standard love story can’t reach. Unfortunately for THE AGE OF ADALINE, it didn’t have the heart necessary to gain the audience’s acceptance nor did it have great performances that made you connect with their situation. It didn’t help matters that director Lee Toland Krieger told the story in such a dramatically sappy manner, making it really hard to connect to the film.
Adaline (Lively) suffers a strange accident in 1937 that prevents her body from ageing. Note right away that the film tries to explain away the eternal youth phenomenon. The film makes it sound like it’s science and not a supernatural element, which actually takes away some of the romanticism from the film. But we quickly follow Adaline through the ages, to present day where she lives alone with her cat, has a blind best friend and has a daughter that’s now an old woman. Adaline has secluded herself from the rest of the world and there are two reasons for this. First, she doesn’t want to feel the pain of losing someone to old age, which makes sense. Second, she’s scared the government is after her. The second reason is more interesting, but aside from a brief flashback to her escaping some government captives, we don’t know anything more about it. But even with those two reasons, we can’t help but feel like she’s squandered 80+ years of youth out of fear.
Her life changes when she meets Ellis (Huisman), a wealthy and handsome philanthropist that takes a liking to her. Their love for each other is really the center of the film, which is disappointing because I couldn’t figure out why either of them even liked the other, let alone loved one another. But the audience is supposed to accept that they have a deep, passionate love and that love is what convinces Adaline that she needs to stop being scared and start enjoying life. That leads her to agree to meet his parents, who are celebrating their anniversary. Things were already weird at this point, but it turns out that Adaline and Ellis’s father (Ford) once had a passionate romance that Adaline ended.
Blake Lively has always gotten a bad rap for some of her lackluster performances and she was famously denied a starring role in SIDE EFFECTS because the studio didn’t have confidence in her. THE AGE OF ADALINE is a good example why. The film wouldn’t have worked with anyone in the lead, but she gave such a bland and lifeless performance that the audience couldn’t get behind her. She lacked the charm necessary to pull off such a complicated character and so Adaline often came off as one dimensional and superficial when she needed to be complex and welcoming.
Although I’m typically a sucker for romance films with a touch of the supernatural, THE AGE OF ADALINE just didn’t work for me. Maybe it was the bland performance from Blake Lively or the lack of connection between her and Huisman, but the film felt overly dramatic and full of empty characters. It was told with such a heavy hand that the audience never had time to breathe and it was hard not to feel that Adaline just didn’t deserve the gift she had been given.
Video: THE AGE OF ADALINE looked beautiful on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Commentary with Lee Toland Krieger: Krieger had lofty expectations for this commentary and for the most part, he succeeds in giving a thoughtful, detailed analysis of his film. I would have liked more of a personal touch from him, but overall it was an enjoyable track.
Deleted Scenes (4:29): Nothing stood out in these scenes.
A Love Story for the Ages (29:40): This long featurette is made up of a lot of behind the scenes footage, but feels a bit like a marketing piece.
Style Throughout the Ages (18:19): A surprisingly long featurette dedicated to the sets.
Discovering Young Harrison Ford: Anthony Ingruber, A YouTube Sensation (8:18): Ingruber looks and sounds just like Harrison Ford. This featurette looks at how they found him.