Movie review: "Age of Adaline" is unabashed date-night bait

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

As the shameless date-night offerings have gone this year, you could do a lot worse than “The Age of Adaline.” For example, “50 Shades of Grey” or most any movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book.

In fact, it’s a little refreshing that “Adaline” is not based on a book (though it sometimes feels like it could be), as it is well-paced and efficient as a movie. I had my share of issues with it, but I suspect those who are interested will probably love it.

Born in 1908, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) is a young woman who stops aging after a freak accident. To awkwardly paraphrase Matthew McConaughey’s “Dazed and Confused” character, we get older, she stays the same age.

This fountain of perpetual youth turns out to be its own kind of curse as Adaline must hide her condition from the public. She separates from her daughter, whom she watches age through only occasional visits.

Likewise, romance eludes her — or rather she eludes it, unable to tell any lovers about her condition. That is, of course, until a modern-day Adaline meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman).

“Adaline” sets up this “Benjamin Button on pause” idea fairly nicely, at least in a “just go with it” manner, It gives way to a more traditional romance tale of the reluctant woman and the persistent (but sweet) man. In real life, this behavior can be creepy and unwelcome, but again, we’ll go with it here.

Things get a lot more complicated in a second-half plot twist I’ll save for the screen.

The slow-building romance of Adaline and Ellis seldom has much to do with the fact that she’s about 80 years older than him, but it’s nicely done, and the chemistry is good.

In fact, most of the casting is solid — including a young version of one of the actors that’s impeccable.

Lively, on the other hand, often seems a little one-note, straining to evoke the wisdom of age in an unexpectedly young package. It’s a tough role only a few actresses could pull off — I’d like to see Jennifer Lawrence here, though I haven’t seen her heavily panned “Serena.”

I may be lukewarm to “Age of Adaline,” but there’s enough here to swoon over, if you’re going in ready to swoon.

"Age of Adaline"

Opens Friday

2 1/2 stars out of 4