Serena van der Woodsen plays Adaline Bowman in this charmi- oh sorry, that’s Blake Lively funneling Serena van der Woodsen charm into a perfect snowstorm. Each delicately formed flake lands on your cheek and you wish it could stay there forever in all its fragile perfection. The Age of Adaline was recommended to me a year ago.I finally finished watching it today, it did not take me year of course to get through the whole movie, but watching it twenty minutes at a time is a very pleasant, lulling activity. This is mainly due to Blake Lively’s easy, soft, purring voice. She always sounds as if she speaks through angel wings, in honey dipped vibrations. At least that’s how she sounds in Gossip Girl and in this movie.
The year is 1937 and the city is San Francisco. Adaline Bowman has been living a life untouched by the big events of the world, the events of her life dictated only by the gentle, inner thrumming of her personal rhythm. The entire movie functions under these terms, it is entirely dependent on Blake Lively’s ability to conjure up a vibrant yet mutedly impactful personality. We’re inside a gloriously controlled world where everything is done just so. There are no strings here though, just a conducter’s baton. When the odd (actually the only) crass (and therefore alien) remark is made, (Ellis her boyfriend has to live out at least one cliched moment when he says that women wouldn’t do well on answering Trivial Pursuit questions on boxing), Adaline’s lips gently purse as she looks him over and she voices a full,soft,disapproving “hmmm” and then proceeds to lambast everyone else at the game. Well, what’s the point of a movie if you can’t dictate the terms?
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before she meets Ellis in the present day, Adaline is a widow in 1937 with a little girl. She is involved in a freak accident that prevents her from aging. Years pass and stopped on a minor traffic violation, news apparently reaches the Man that Adaline is no longer ageing. The Man being who they are, accost her late one rainy night, bundle her into a car and seem to be trying to fly her off to an undisclosed location with nary a care about her civil rights. On the run ever since this day, Adaline has given up hope of a real life until the day she meets Ellis. The story is developed really well through flashbacks and well-worn narratorial tactics take us back to the moment that started the story to end it as well.
Possibly because it employs high cultural motifs to good effect, the movie is pleasant to watch. But it doesn’t seem enough to dismiss it in this way without admitting that storytelling, acting,direction and cinematography made this an accomplished and enjoyable movie.