Saturday, 23 May 2015

Review: The Age Of Adaline

World of Blackout Film Review

The Age Of Adaline Poster

The Age Of Adaline
Cert: 12A / 113 mins / Dir. Lee Toland Krieger / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

There's much to love about The Age Of Adaline, not least Blake Lively's almost otherworldly performance and a fascinating narrative that's live a vampiric love-story without the bloodletting*1. But a potentially brilliant film is held back by the needless shoehorning of bullshit-science (because it's apparently too much to have the audience of a fantasy film presented with straight-up magic) and an occasionally awful script. That said, my biggest bugbear is the film's sporadic narration, every bit as intrusive, unnecessary and patronising as the one in The Book Thief, expositing things for the viewer when the rest of the screenplay can't be bothered. Although it's also important to note that while Adaline researches her 'gift', it's all to no avail, so her character never actually knows the nonsensical details that the narrator gives us.

Blake Lively is really the main attraction here. Combined with the wardrobe department's meticulous crafting of a 'woman out of time' look, she's arguably too good for this film. While she delivers on the story's promise, the rest of the cast are never quite able to grasp the opportunity for themselves. Michiel Huisman does the best he can with the dialogue he's given (see below), Harrison Ford is 'good', but isn't really given enough screentime to lend his character the weight it needs, and Anthony Ingruber is almost wasted as Ford's younger incarnation. And it's a real shame, because this movie could have been absolutely outstanding with a little more care.

An extended BluRay version of The Age Of Adaline, about half an hour longer and with no voiceover, would go towards letting the film achieve its potential. It's still worth a watch in its present form, of course, just don't get your hopes up (not that you're likely to after this review).

• Best/worst line in the script: "My dad, on the other hand, has his head in the stars. Literally… he's an astronomer". Oh, so astronomers have their craniums physically inserted into giant balls of burning hydrogen, do they? 'Literally'?

• Question for those of you who've seen the film: So Adaline doesn't age, but she can pick up scars? Wouldn't her Wolverine-like metabolism give her super healing abilities, too? You're right, I'd have turned this into a superhero flick. Suspect that's why I wasn't asked to review any of the drafts…

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
If you're at a loose end on a Sunday afternoon, maybe.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
It's probably a rental, to be fair.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Not quite.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I don't actually believe the film knows what it sets out to do, so no.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
It stars Captain Solo himself, Harrison Ford.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Ironically, many of the exterior shots in San Francisco had me location-spotting from Interview With The Vampire.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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