NEW YORK (CNS) — Glossy proceedings follow on a silly premise in the serviceable romantic drama “The Age of Adaline” (Lionsgate).
Viewers willing to swallow its whopper of an opening hypothesis will be somewhat rewarded by the movie’s endorsement of long-term loyalty. The pass it gives both to out-of-wedlock sexual behavior and to the seedy implications of its own late plot developments, on the other hand, tends to spoil the recompense.
All of which moral nuance needs to be seen within the wildly improbable context of the lengthy — and yet, in one important aspect at least, unchanging — life of Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively).
As a 29-year-old widow in 1930s San Francisco, Adaline is involved in an auto accident that causes her temporary death. Yet, due to the unique circumstances surrounding the mishap — rare meteorological conditions, lightning-charged molecules, blah, blah, blah — she emerges from the trauma not only revived, but entirely immune to aging.
Adaline’s sui generis situation would seem, at first blush, to be an enviable one. But the fear of being confined and experimented on by prying government authorities, together with the awkward imbalance her perpetual youth would inevitably introduce into any amorous relationship, puts Adaline on the run — and leaves her more or less isolated — for the next eight decades.
Jump forward four score years, however, and Adaline finds herself reluctantly falling for wealthy Silicon Valley tech whiz Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman). This turn of events delights her now-elderly daughter, Flemming (Ellen Burstyn). But complications from Adaline’s long past threaten her contemporary chance for commitment-based happiness.
The hurdles on her path to bliss arise because of Ellis’ connection to William (Harrison Ford), an old beau of Adaline’s from the Swinging Sixties. The bond between the two men — not to be detailed here for fear of a spoiler — has some distinctly unpleasant undertones. Yet these the script, co-written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, blithely ignores.
Lively’s skillful portrayal of Adaline’s not-quite-resigned state of self-enforced loneliness helps to quell some of the skepticism inescapably inspired by director Lee Toland Krieger’s far-fetched yarn. Yet, while the ethical ins and outs of Adaline’s saga can be difficult to evaluate, given her tale’s vast divergence from real life, it’s a safe bet that her story is not fit fare for the naturally youthful.
The film contains bedroom scenes implying benignly viewed nonmarital and premarital relationships, graphic but bloodless crash sequences and at least one instance each of profanity and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103