Friday, April 24, 2015

The Age of Adeline [2015]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (3 1/2 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (R. Moore) review (M. Zoller Seitz) review
AVClub (J. Hessenger) review  

The Age of Adeline [2015] (directed by Lee Toland Krieger, story and screenplay by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz) is a weepy truly IMPOSSIBLE melodrama / romance that thanks to the presence of a typically / appropriately crusty Harrison Ford in the film's 3rd act may be a "weepy melodramatic chick flick" that even a guy (with a date) could go to.

So what's the film about?  Well it's about Adaline (played with the truly requisite level of exquisite sadness by Blake Lively). We're told in an introductory voice-over that Adaline was born to a privileged / socialite San Francisco family in 1908, that is, two years after the devastating 1906 earthquake.  She grew up happy in that privileged family in part perhaps because she lived her position modestly and always _responsibly_.  We're told that she married an engineer Clarence James Prescott (played by Peter J. Gray) 87 days after they first met  How'd they meet?  She was strolling with her mother one fine morning there "along the point" at the northern tip of San Francisco while Prescott was standing there leading a surveying party for the soon to be constructed Golden Gate Bridge, and ... mist perhaps blocking his view of the strait, he instead, spotted her, and ... fell in love at first sight.  And they soon had a child, Flemming (played at 5 by Izabel Pearce, later at 20 by Cate Richardson and finally in the current day, as an older woman, by Ellen Burstyn).

All would seem to have been "picture perfect," but alas fate struck their lives with tragedy.  First, Clarence died as a result of an accident during the construction of the Bridge.  THEN, some (relatively short) time after the bridge was completed driving alone in the evening to pick-up her daughter staying with her grandparents at a retreat owned by the family somewhere in Sonoma County (north of San Francisco), freak weather conditions conspired to plunge Adeline with her car off the road and into a flooded tidal basin effectively drowning her in the frigid salt water of the San Francisco bay.  BUT ... some 30 minutes after she drowned in that frigid salt water, LIGHTNING struck the water nearby, JOLTING HER, DEFIBRILLATING HER HEART and giving her enough energy to despite the water's frigid cold PULL HERSELF / JUMP NOW OUT OF THE CAR to the safety of somewhat higher ground just a few feet to her side.  SHE LIVED ... BUT ... the JOLT OF ELECTRICIY had ANOTHER EFFECT one that the introductory voice-over noted would not be discovered by science until 2035: IT STOPPED / FROZE / TERMINATED the normal (decompository) action of the RNA strands at the ends of the chromosomes on a cellular level, THEREBY EFFECTIVELY STOPPING HER FROM AGING, that is, SHE DID NOT AGE A SINGLE DAY EVER SINCE.

So ... Adeline truly became, what a lot of people wish they could remain, "29 FOREVER" ;-)

This then is the setup of the movie and asks us the question: What would YOU do if YOU TOO became "stuck at twenty nine" ... FOREVER?

And it was kinda a horror for Adeline, taking about 5-10 years for her to figure out.  Everyone was (normally) growing older -- notably her own daughter was growing older -- but SHE was not.  And yes, how does one explain a photo-id in which one is listed as being 45 and yet one still looks, even on the photo, as 29?

So Adeline finds her "prison at 29" to be a very lonely, dangerous and utterly inexplicable sentence / curse.

Fast forward then to the present day.  Adeline's daughter Fleming is now in her 80s (!!) and Adeline is ... still 29.  So Fleming is worried about her mother.  What's she gonna do when she's gone?  ;-)

So FLEMING encourages her mother ADELINE to "find somebody"  BUT HOW?  What does one say?  Now?  5 years from now?  10 years hence?

Still a handsome / dashing, appropriate for a 29 year-old, young man, Ellis (played by Michel Huisman) comes onto the scene.  Like Adeline's husband of the 1930s, he's smitten by her "at first sight."  She tries to save him the sorrow of getting to know her (and her curse).  But ... he is a good guy ... and listening to the advice of her 80 year old daughter, she decides to "open herself up / take the chance" with him.

BUT ... (yes, this is an _impossible_ story) ... when Ellis brings her home to meet his parents (for their 40th anniversary) it turns out that SHE KNOWS HIS FATHER, William (played by said, now crusty, Harrison Ford) who, of course, had been in love with her "back in the day" (that "day" being "in England" back in the "late 1960s" ...).

What to do?  And mind you, she's there (looking as ever, always, 29 ;-) with Ellis, ostensibly to be part of Ellis' parents' 40th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY ... and upon setting his eyes on her, all that Ellis' father can remember is the Adeline (her) who had been his first true love back BEFORE he met his wife with whom he's now been married for 40 years ... ;-)

Yes, it's an impossible story but ... wow ... :-)

Good job, you weepy / crazy sops, good job ;-) ... this is a tearjerker that even a guy could understand ;-)

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