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Film review: The Age of Adaline - Blake Lively defies mortality

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 10:53pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 May, 2015, 2:05pm

Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Category: IIA

Would any woman realistically complain if she could live to the age of 107 and retain the impeccable physique of Blake Lively at her prime?

Such is the ironic predicament facing the Gossip Girl star's titular role in The Age of Adaline, a San Francisco-set fantasy in which she plays out a Benjamin Button-like existence through some truly awkward romantic situations.

Struck by lightning and a heavy dose of sci-fi hokum following a near-death accident, Adaline Bowman, born in 1908, is ordained to live forever at 29 — complete with gorgeous hair and radiant skin. It's a testament to the reclusive widow's forte that immorality hasn't so much given her the burden of history as it has the ability to speak multiple languages and kill it at the trivia games.

Sweetly directed by Celeste & Jesse Forever's Lee Toland Krieger, Adaline's story doesn't dwell long on her ritual of spiriting away every decade, her only constant companion being the sympathetic daughter played by Ellen Burstyn. Rather, the heroine is thrust into a present-day romance with the philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman), her inconvenient truth be damned.

It's a shame they never catch fire on screen, and there's a feeling that Ellis is the wrong guy to get the girl, fuelled partly by a plot twist late on featuring Harrison Ford as Ellis' emotional dad. The revelation adds a fleeting touch of poignancy, but also hints at an absurd but far more profound love story that is denied by the dreadful Hollywood ending.

The Age of Adaline opens on May 21