In a world that is trying to achieve immortality for its inhabitants, Leo Toland’s ‘The Age of Adaline’ is a well-placed movie. Belonging to the genres of science fiction and romance, one which I tend to stay away from most times, it is not as soppy and cheesy as I had predicted.
My decision to go watch the movie came out of acute boredom on my part and very cheap tickets- just Rs.70 which is peanuts for Bangalore—on providence’s part. I was mentally prepared to have fun watching the couples in the theatre cuddle up and profess their love to each other on the sight of the protagonist in the arms of some man reciting a cheesy dialogue. But I was in for a shock.
After miraculously remaining 29 years old for almost eight decades, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has lived a solitary existence for obvious reasons. She has to live with the curse of immortality and finds everyone dear to her either in their grave or with one foot in the grave. Hence, she never allows herself to get close to anyone who might tickle her heart strings. But, like in any romantic film, there has to be a knight in the shining armour whose kiss wakes up the sleeping beauty and converts her into the fawning and gooey-eyed female. Our hero is a handsome (obviously), highly accomplished and rich philanthropist named Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman). They meet on new years’ eve and he reignites her passion for life and romance. She resists him in the beginning but we all know what will happen in the end, don’t we? She takes the leap of faith and goes to his parent’s house for their anniversary. There she meets Ellis’s old man- Harrison Ford- who knows more about her than she would like. Will Adaline stop running and face her demons or will she run to protect herself?
The whole idea of freezing at a certain age is not a new concept. We have seen plenty of it in ‘Dracula’ and ‘Lord of the Rings.’ But the way it is portrayed in this movie, in the context of love, is interesting. When her daughter asks her, “don’t you miss having someone to love,” Adaline replies, “it’s not the same when there is no growing old together. Without that love is just heartbreak.” This dialogue pretty much sums up the story. Immortality is not a boon. It is a curse and the charm in loving someone is seeing the love through to the very end.
Is it a realistic movie? Not at all. Adaline stop aging the day she has an accident. Her car falls into a pool of cold water and lightning strikes that very moment causing her DNA to alter and stop aging. Well it is science fiction, so you might as well ignore the vagueness of the explanation.
The movie is Shakespearean in nature. It deals with love in a supernatural context and only the outcome of love matters to us, not just the whole process of falling in love. Being a feminist, I do like the fact that Miss Bowman has survived all these years without any support from anybody. She is the femme fatale who is complete in herself and doesn’t let any weakness prevail in her.
A ten on ten on acting for all the characters. Harrison Ford takes the award for the best actor in the movie. Seeing him in quite an unusual role, very unlike his action-star tough guy image, his acting touches the heart and is subtle. His eyes speak louder than his words. His wife, Ellen Burstyn, is a huge support to his character. She steals every scene she is in and again there is something about her eyes that endears her to the audience.
While watching the film, I could hear people choke and some sobbed too. What I predicted came true. The couples, quite a few of them, cuddled closer to each other and the guys sitting behind me said to each other, “I would want to grow old with you and see the last of the greys you will ever have.” That was kind of cute. The movie did something to the audience. It created a somber atmosphere and left people pondering over—is love really a heartbreak if there is no growing old together?
It sure made me think.