Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Age of Adaline (4 Stars)

Years, lovers and glasses of wine,
These are things that should never be counted.

Adaline Bowman is a woman who was born on January 1st, 1908. At the age of 29 she has a car accident in which her car skids into the water and she drowns. Her heart stops beating, but a lightning bolt strikes her, making it beat again, and she swims to the surface. A side effect of this occurrence is that she no longer ages. When she is in her late 40's she's noticed, and government agents try to abduct her to experiment on her. She escapes and goes undercover. For the next 60 years she lives her life 10 years at a time. Every 10 years she changes her name and moves to a different part of America to live with a false identity, just long enough for nobody to notice she's not ageing.

In 2014 she is about to move again, but just after buying a new fake passport she meets and falls in love with Ellis Jones, a rich young philanthropist. She delays her new life to spend a weekend with him. She is surprised to find out that his father is a man she dated 50 years previously. When he recognises her she claims that it was her mother that he knew, but he's suspicious and keeps asking questions.

This is a beautiful film about the tragedy of living forever. It's slightly spoilt by the attempts of a narrator to explain the scientific causes of Adaline's longevity. He even speaks about a scientific fact that "wasn't discovered until 2035". Ridiculous. Couldn't they just have said that Adaline was struck by lightning and lived forever and left it at that?

In a way the film reminds me of the Highlander TV series. It was a recurring theme that Duncan MacLeod and other immortals met old lovers after many years and had to make excuses about it being their father or grandfather. In the TV series immortality is also presented as a curse. Anyone who lives forever has to suffer the pain of watching everyone he loves grow old and die.

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