Age­less Adaline’s fairy­tale life

Kapi-Mana News - - MOVIES -


Di­rected by Lee Toland Krieger and writ­ten by J Mills Good­loe and Sal­vador Paskowitz. Star­ring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huis­man, Ellen Burstyn. Fan­tasy ro­mance. 1hr 53mins. M for sex­ual ref­er­ences. Now show­ing at Read­ing and Event cine­mas.

One of the most mun­dane things about Hol­ly­wood’s cur­rent ma­nia for fairy­tales is that few film-mak­ers have been bold enough to have a crack at cre­at­ing a fairy­tale – an al­le­gory on mod­ern morals – of their own. Per­haps we don’t need such whimsy to make sense of mod­ern life any more?

In th­ese science-cen­tred times, hu­man be­hav­iour has been mea­sured, quan­ti­fied and stud­ied to the nth de­gree, re­duced to the im­pulses of hor­mones or the state of our bank bal­ances. It’s science, not sto­ries, we turn to to make sense of the world th­ese days.

But if you’ve ever won­dered what a truly mod­ern fairy­tale would look like, epic fan­tasy ro­mance The Age of Adaline comes pretty close.

Adaline Bow­man (Blake Lively) has a ter­ri­ble se­cret. Af­ter a freak ac­ci­dent in the early 20th cen­tury, she was ren­dered age­less, trapped for­ever in her 29-year-old body, un­able to age.

Al­ways on the run, she has jumped from iden­tity to iden­tity as the decades turned, with only her now el­derly daugh­ter (Ellen Burstyn) to re­mem­ber who she re­ally is.

On the eve of leav­ing her quiet life in San Fran­cisco for an even qui­eter life in Ore­gon, Adaline meets El­lis Jones (Michiel Huis- man).

El­lis is the kind of man she never ex­pected to meet again – one who might be worth giv­ing up her se­crets for.

From the out­side, Adaline may seem like just an­other glossy, charm­ing ro­mance, the Har­lequin ver­sion of the usual schmaltzy Mills and Boon trash Hol­ly­wood likes to churn out from time to time.

But don’t let the ‘‘im­pos­si­bly lovely, wealthy, per­fect look­ing peo­ple find­ing true love against the odds’’ sto­ry­line fool you.

Be­neath the schmaltz is a sur­pris­ingly so­phis­ti­cated para­ble on the dan­ger of stag­nat­ing, of fall­ing prey to our youth-ob­sessed cul­ture and of not grasp­ing how fleet­ing life is.

In true fairy­tale style, Adaline is taught a les­son by be­ing given a seem­ingly won­drous gift – eter­nity with Blake Lively’s per­fect face – only for the gift to be­come a hor­ri­ble night­mare as she be­comes a med­i­cal cu­rios­ity, and as ev­ery­one around her grows old and dies.

In true mod­ern style, how­ever, it’s science, not magic, that gov­erns Adaline’s long, im­mutable life. In place of a fairy-god­mother is a Wes An­der­son- es­que voiceover; in place of Prince Charm­ing is In­ter­net Start-Up Mil­lion­aire Charm­ing who uses his mil­lions to do good works.

If I have one crit­i­cism of this lovely film it’s that we don’t have enough time to see the changes in the world through Adaline’s wise eyes.

She seems to have sprung out of the 1900s fully formed, with no sense of a woman who has lived through say, suf­frage, or the women’s move­ment in the 60s.

Then again, the magic of fairy­tales is never in the de­tails. They’re just the glit­ter that draws the eye long enough to get the mes­sage across, and Adaline’s mes­sage is a po­tent one: Don’t get so caught up in de­tails that you for­get to live.

Blake Lively is the time­less Adaline in fan­tasy ro­mance, The Age of Adaline.

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