The Age of Adaline

Posted on April 23, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Be careful what you wish for.  You think it would be great to stay 29 forever?  Adaline (Blake Lively) finds out that it is not great to become unstuck from time, to watch everyone you love grow old and die, to hurt those you care about because you cannot be honest about who you are.  It is as though the whole world is on a conveyer belt moving everyone inexorably forward, and just one person has stepped off, rooted in one spot and left all alone. Life becomes a series of goodbyes.

Copyright 2015 Lakeshore Entertainment
Copyright 2015 Lakeshore Entertainment

Adaline made headlines as the first baby born in 1908 San Francisco.  She lived a normal life, with an engineer husband and a baby girl.  But her husband was killed in an accident when he was working on the Golden Gate Bridge.  And then, when a very rare snowfall came to San Francisco, her car went off the road and into a pond.  She was at the same time frozen and shocked by lightning.  And, we are told by the narrator, as scientists will discover in 2015, the effect of these two forces on her DNA somehow stops the aging process.  At first, she is able to get away with explaining that she eats right and uses a very good face cream.  But as more than a decade goes by and she does not change, she begins to unsettle people and attract the attention of government investigators.  So, she has to say goodbye to her now-teenage daughter and come up with a plan where she changes identities and locations every ten years, and never gets close to anyone.

Adaline is living in San Francisco as Jenny and working at a library, but is about to switch identities again and move to Oregon. She has just bought a new fake passport and drivers license and arranged for her new identity to have access to her bank account (one thing perpetual youth is very good for is accumulating capital) when she meets Ellis (Dutch “Game of Thrones” dreamboat Michiel Huisman). He is handsome, wealthy, philanthropic, nuts about her, and knows how to give swooningly romantic gifts and cook charming and delicious dinners in his aw-shucks-I’m-just-living-in-a-zillion-dollar-fixer-upper. Doesn’t Adaline have the right to take a chance on love?

She agrees to spend the weekend with Ellis’ parents for their 40th anniversary party. But as soon as they arrive, Ellis’ father, William (Harrison Ford) says “Adaline!” They were “very close” in the 1960’s. “Jenny” explains that Adaline was her mother. But William remembers Adaline too well to be fooled for long.

The script and story were both co-written by first-time screenwriter Salvador Paskowitz, whose own unconventional life was documented in Surfwise.

It has a conceptual delicacy that translates unevenly on screen, with an overly ponderous omniscient narrator and underwritten romantic scenes. But Lively gives a thoughtful, complex performance, with undertones of melancholy and a yearning for connection that struggles with her determination to stay isolated. And she looks sensational in the costumes from Angus Strathie, which show a consistency of style throughout the century that shows us how strong and determined Adaline’s well-defined persona is, despite the various aliases and disguises and changes in fashion.

The romanticism of the storyline was thrown off course for me by the idea that Adaline was involved with both father and son, even decades apart. But if that does not create too much of an ick factor, the bittersweet fantasy of eternal youth and the just-sweet fantasy of the perfect boyfriend make it work.

Parents should know that this film includes sexual references and non-explicit situations, some mature themes of loss and disappointment, and drinking.

Family discussion: What did the comet signify? If you could stay the same age forever, what age would you pick? Is there a “just-miss” in your life?

If you like this, try: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Passion of Mind,” and “Tuck Everlasting”

Related Tags:


Drama Fantasy Romance

Last Chance Harvey

Posted on May 5, 2009 at 8:00 am

It’s wonderful to watch young people falling in love for the first time. That’s why we get to see it so often in the movies. But it is even more wonderful to see people falling in love for the last time, and that is one of the three great pleasures of this touching grown-up love story.

It’s always romantic to see first love because we can share with them — just for a moment — the belief that happily ever after means that there will never be an argument or disappointment or loss. But it is even more romantic to see older people fall in love because they know there will be all of that and they go ahead anyway. That is the story of “Last Chance Harvey,” a man who has lost his job and whose daughter asks her step-father to give her away at her wedding because she feels closer to him. Which is what gives him a chance to think about what he really wants for the rest of his life — and then he sees Kate.

Not much more happens. They walk around. They dance at the daughter’s wedding reception. They think about whether they really want to take the risk of sharing themselves knowing in a way that young people cannot what it really means. And yet in those moments, everything happens, and we know it and they know it.

The other two pleasures of the film are Dustin Hoffman as Harvey and Emma Thompson as Kate. These two actors, so perfectly at home with themselves, fearlessly give us two people who are complicated, difficult, and very, very protective of their bruised hearts. And then they let us see them bloom, not all at once, more of a two steps forward, one step back opening up of their hearts to each other. And that leaves our hearts just a little more open, too.

Related Tags:


After the kids go to bed Date movie Romance

The Jane Austen Book Club

Posted on October 4, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content, brief strong language and some drug use
Profanity: Brief strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, drug use
Violence/ Scariness: Accident involving minor injuries, tense confrontations
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: October 4, 2007
Date Released to DVD: 2008 ASIN: B000ZS8GW6

I’m pretty sure that Jane Austen never thought of including a lesbian jumping out of an airplane in any of her books, and yet somehow that scene fits in just fine in this story of six people who get together to read all six of Austen’s novels. Austen did manage to cover, in six books all taking place almost entirely in the quiet British countryside of the late 18th century, many variations on the themes of love and learning, and this film shows us how her stories continue to inspire and connect people who realize that very little has changed in the last 200 plus years.
The book club starts as a way to cheer up Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), just dumped by her husband (Jimmy Smits). Sylvia’s friends, the free-spirited Bernadette (Kathy Baker) and the dog-breeding loner Jocelyn (Maria Bello), invite Sylvia’s daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace), an impetuous, extreme sport-loving lesbian. Bernadette impulsively invites Prudie (Emily Blunt), a prim high school French teacher who has never been to France. And Jocelyn even more impulsively invites a man — Hugh Dancy as Grig, a sci-fi loving techie who asks if some of the six Austen books are sequels.
Once a month, they meet to talk about the books, each of them taking turns to host and present. And the themes of the book — from the patient hoping of Mansfield Park and Persuasion to the jump-to-the-wrong conclusions of Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma, to Sense and Sensibility, which has both, each book seems to resonate to one or more of the characters and their own paths to love.
The movie is a big improvement over the wispy novel, which teetered between being cutesy and being cloying. One reason is a brilliant cast, each of whom adds tremendous heart and vibrancy to the story. It also benefits from lively direction and high spirits provided by screenwriter Robin Swicord. The opening credit sequence sets the stage with a collection of scenes showing the frustrations of modern life. And the pacing keeps things light and bubbly, making it clear that, like Austen’s heroines, a happy ending will be in store.
Parents should know that this movie includes explicit sexual references and situations, gay and straight. A character commits adultery and another considers having sex with a very inappropriate partner. The movie includes brief strong language, alcohol, and drug use.
Families who see this movie should talk about how the stories of the characters parallel the novels by Jane Austen. What are some other examples of “the humbling of the know-it-all pretty girl?” Do you agree that “high school is never over?”
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “In Her Shoes,” and the movies based on and inspired by Jane Austen’s novels, including “Sense and Sensibility,” “Emma,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Bride and Prejudice,” “Clueless,” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

Related Tags:


Based on a book Date movie Movies -- format Romance
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik