The Age of Adaline (3 stars)

The Age of Adaline

Tasteful but lacklustre drama starring Blake Lively as a love-struck immortal

Wealthy, beautiful Adaline (Blake Lively) gets her clock stopped in 1937 at the age of 29 thanks to a freak Californian accident, the science of which won't be discovered until 2035. Every decade she’s forced to move on, so that no-one can reveal her secret, until – ominous chord – she falls in love.

The Age of Adaline, directed by Lee Toland Krieger (Celeste & Jesse Forever), is a smooth, tasteful look at immortality. There's no violence, no sex – save for snogging – and it features a woman who avoids photographs and marriage, not that you need to be immortal to steer clear of those. The script, written by J Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz, is a throwback to the ‘women’s pictures’ of cinematic past. Adaline’s character cracks wise, but with less than electric one-liners; her voice drops to a low purr but she lacks personality, even as her hair, wardrobe and cool takes her into Lauren Bacall territory.

Despite decades of global travel, Adaline has only managed to pick up a smattering of language skills and become a whizz at Trivial Pursuit. Of course, love must come to trip up her weary perfection, and it arrives with a twist. The peripheral players, including Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn (the latter plays the slight role of Adaline’s daughter as if on a Stradivarius), anchor the tale with some wonderfully nuanced performances, while love interest Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) is suitably dimly handsome.

With some supporting roles in previous features, Lively (best known for her work in TV's Gossip Girl) may have a great career ahead of her, but The Age of Adaline doesn’t show her to have the star power required to kick this subtle fantasy into life. Still, it’s an unusual, thoughtful drama that takes a novel look at the fountain of youth, and that afterwards will have those seeking nothing more than a little light entertainment commenting, 'Well, that was quite nice, wasn’t it?'

General release from Fri 8 May.

The Age of Adaline

  • 3 stars
  • 2015
  • US
  • 1h 50min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
  • Cast: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman
  • UK release: 8 May 2015

After a freak accident in 1937, wealthy and beautiful 29-year-old Adaline (Lively) stops aging; every decade she has to move on in order to keep her secret, until she falls in love. Smooth, tasteful look at immortality; Lively is a bit lacking in star power, but Ford and Burstyn give wonderfully nuanced performances.