'The Age of Adaline' starring Blake Lively looked like it was going to be an epic romance that would sweep me up and take me on a journey with a woman of many years. What I got instead was a disjointed narrative that felt like it didn't quite know where it was going. The challenge of the movie going in is portraying the life of a woman who has lived for a century and trying to cram that into a 112 minute run time. How it approached that challenge was putting the viewer through 20+ solid minutes of outside narration and a bevy of flashback scenes.
The movie jumps around between the different time period of Adaline's life while we get outside narration as to what was happening and why she's doing what she's doing. So much of it simply explained to us that the audience isn't really given much time to get involved with the story. I didn't really latch on to any character, didn't feel for any stories because I wasn't given enough time or context with the story. As far as I could gather, there were three main loves of her life. There was her first husband with which she had her daughter. That relationship isn't expanded upon much outside of they fell in love, got married, had a daughter. There's another love story set in the 60s with the young version of Harrison Ford's character. We're only given snippets of that and not enough to really get invested into their relationship. It was just another device to give a reason for what's happening overall. Then, of course, there's the current "main" love story which, again, I didn't really get too invested in because the story weaved in out of her Adaline's long life.
I really wanted to like this film. I wanted to get swept up in a grand story and learn about the pains and struggles of a woman who cannot age and watches the people she loves age and die. That side isn't explored much either. There's just so much that the movie wanted to get in that it never really delves too deeply into any one aspect and it results in a detaching overload. I guess that was my main problem with the film as a whole, how detached I felt from it.
I did, however, enjoy Blake Lively's performance. She carried herself with the air of someone who has lived a long life convincingly. Other than that, no performance really stuck out to me. I was left with more questions than answers and walked away from the theater without that heavy feeling in my chest about a good story being over. That feeling is entirely subjective but I like to think that I'm not the only one who gets so engrossed in a good movie, book, or game that at end of it I'm left feeling empty because it really took me in. I didn't get that from this movie. I was never taken in.
'The Age of Adaline' is a film that fell short and relied on typical romance tropes (like love at first sight slow motion room entry) to try and get the audience to connect with a poorly connected narrative and that's a shame because I loved the premise. I just wish the execution was a little bit more engaging.