The Age of Adaline

Since the first slice of celluloid spooled through the movie projector, romance films have proven popular. Most followed the usual pattern of ‘boy meets girl, loses her and then reunites with her by the end’. It’s a format that has propelled many movies to huge success. The trick has been in presenting them differently in order to grab viewer’s imaginations. ‘The Age of Adaline’ offers its own twist. A romantic fantasy, it has a unique flavour all its own without drowning in a sea of overwrought sentimentality.

After a 1929 freak car accident, 29 year old mother Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) remains that age for decades. Wanting to live a solitary life in order to protect her secret, she drifts through the years determined not to get close to anyone. Occasionally her resolve wavers as when she meets young businessman Ellis (Michiel Huisman). Reigniting her thirst for life, Adaline enjoys her new romance. Things turn sour when she meets his father William (Harrison Ford), who knew Adaline decades before. Events quickly spiral out of control with Adeline forced to confront her past in order to have a future.

Like the passage of time, ‘The Age of Adaline’ is frequently slow. Although that’s perhaps the point director Lee Toland Krieger makes as Adaline is trapped in an eternal existence. As soon as William enters the story, the pace picks up with old revelations spinning the story in various directions. Lively and Ford give very strong performances with genuine authenticity. How Adaline copes with lost friends and family is particularly well conveyed, keeping interest in spite of the slow patches.

As with most romance films, ‘The Age of Adaline’ looks suitably lush. The glossy visuals add to the overall charm without overwhelming the story. Despite the fantasy elements, the characters feel believable with the moral situations they find themselves in often compelling. This isn’t a romantic flick with no easy answers – it has depth with an emotionally satisfying payoff.

‘The Age of Adaline’ isn’t a dull Mills and Boon potboiler with a simple tale. There’s more than you would expect for a movie from this genre. While it isn’t the greatest romance ever, it certainly isn’t the worst as it consistently engages with time an unwitting friend and enemy to those involved.

Rating out of 10: 6


A Rainy Day in New York

The name Woody Allen means many things to people. The writer and director of classic comedies including ‘Annie Hall’, ‘Manhattan’ has gained him admirers. His controversial private life saw him become a Hollywood pariah. Long delayed due to the latter, ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ is an enjoyable addition to his cinematic catalogue. A breezy romantic comedy in his own unique style showing his story-telling skills are still strong after captivating fans for decades.

When learning his girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) is travelling to Manhattan to interview film director Roland Pollard (Live Schreiber), Gatsby (Timothee Chalamet) plans a romantic weekend. Whilst having the opportunity to visit his New York based parents, Gatsby’s plans soon unravel. Ashleigh is invited to a special movie screening where Gatsby finds himself entangled with actress Chan (Selena Gomez) who bewitches him with her charms. The romantic weekend away turns into one of discovery for the lovebirds in ways they couldn’t have imagined.

While it isn’t top-drawer Allen, ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ is still engaging. Yet another love-letter to New York, the cinematography adds to his character’s emotions. Without realising it, Ashleigh and Gatsby are on two different paths with the weekend forcing them to reflect on their lives. Gatsby’s dislike for the trappings of extreme wealth in particular unearths long buried secrets giving him a new life perspective.

As with any Allen movie, ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ explores how coincidence and unexpected circumstances can change others. Well conveyed by a solid cast who manage to handle Allen’s waspish dialogue with ease. It isn’t a total laugh-fest as some of his earlier work, but Allen manages to bring a light touch making for consistently amusing viewing.

Whatever scandals plague him in his personal life, Woody Allen’s ability to craft a watchable tale is still seen. ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ sits somewhere in the mid-range of his output. For someone who has made dozens of films over decades, that’s a decent effort. His films are always interesting viewing with his style of film-making as enticing as New York’s towering buildings.

Rating out of 10: 6