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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

CURRENLTY STREAMING ON NETFLIX

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