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THE AGE OF ADALINE Eternal Youth

Blake Lively Films "Age Of Adaline"

Directed by Lee Toland Krieger

Starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively), born in 1908, has a happy and carefree life, marred only by the death of her husband. However, at age 29, a freak car accident involving a snowstorm and a bolt of lightning rearranges her DNA with the result that she will never age. At first she uses the excuse of new face creams to explain her youthful looks, but when the government try to apprehend her to be tested on, she has to run away, leaving behind her daughter, Flemming (Cate Richardson and, later, Ellen Burstyn). For the next 50 years, Adaline changes her identity every decade, never letting herself become close to anyone lest she reveal her secret. That is until she meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman), a handsome and charming philanthropist.

Once you’ve taken your sense of disbelief and chucked it out the window, The Age Of Adaline is an enjoyable and heartfelt story, mostly carried by Blake Lively’s performance. She embodies this naturally lively and intelligent woman forced to be reclusive and meticulous because of her condition. Everything from her soft old Hollywood voice, to her elegant clothes, to her perfectly manicured nails displays a woman in control. But Lively is also able to portray that beneath the stately exterior she is brimming with the constant fear of being discovered, and the sadness of constant youth with no-one to share it with but her cocker spaniel.

Michiel Huisman does the best he can with the skeleton of a character he’s given with Ellis. He’s able to make him a believable and likeable character and there are no complaints in the looks department. Harrison Ford also makes the most of his role as Ellis’ father, with a twist that demonstrates that the consequences of eternal youth affect more than just Adaline – and getting a Harrison Ford impersonator to play his younger self was a nice touch. The rest of the cast are given enough character so that they don’t just feel like accessories to the main plot.

The film is beautiful to look at, with sweeping shots of San Francisco and other lush locations. Scenes from Adaline’s past are smoothly woven in between scenes from the present, and the decade in which each is set is denoted through the costumes and Adaline’s hairstyle rather than clunky subtitles. The cinematography is skilful and imaginative and the whole film favours visuals and the physicality of the actors over dialogue to convey meaning and emotion.

The Age Of Adaline is engaging, funny, beautiful to look at, and somehow manages to create a convincing argument that eternal youth is not to be desired.

LUCY RUTHERFORD