It’s time to look at a romance/drama film that came out a while ago. The film actually got a lot of promotion and you would see the posters everywhere. I never got to see a trailer for the movie, but I can’t say that the posters really intrigued me. Upon viewing the film, I can confirm that my suspicions were basically right on the mark. This film could have been a whole lot better, but fell into some rather large mistakes along the way. This is why romance and drama are two genres that need to stay far away from each other unless they are handled very delicately. Don’t forget though, this is apparently an epic as well!
Adaline used to live a normal life. It may not have been perfect, but she had a family and a nice car. Well, her husband couldn’t quite make it as he died early and Adaline took an unwise drive through the forest when she fell in a ditch and drowned, also being zapped by lightning afterward. If you’ve watched shows like Dragon Ball Z or Prince of Tennis, then you know that this kind of thing isn’t fatal. The lightning actually helps revive Adaline and stops the time within her body so that she is now immortal. The film tries to play this off as actually being possible, but the reasoning is so fake that you just feel like laughing at the super serious/almost condescending narrator. Now that she is immortal…what will Adaline do with her life?
She originally decides to just live alone with her dog while avoiding the government. Her daughter is around 60 by now so they visit each other discreetly at times, but Adaline forgot to take up a hobby. That probably would have made being immortal a little more bearable. She could have started a website or something and fans could wonder how she had it for 160 years. She would never tell anyone that she owned it of course. Her life changes forever when a rich book reader shows up and decides that he wants to be with her. He flirts and flirts until Adaline decides to give him a date and the full hollywood treatment.
Again, this is why many romances in films are just so bad. First of all, it sends the wrong message. Adaline flat out denies Ellis (the guy) multiple times, but he doesn’t take no for an answer. He follows her to her job, blackmails her as he would take back his donation from her library if she didn’t go out with him, and also finds out her home address from her co-workers (Who should really know better than to be handing these things out) Finally, she does go out with him and a day or two later, they’re already in bed. That’s basically the definition of a poor romance. You know what’s a much better one? Cinderella. It may not have a whole lot of personality at times and it may be a pairing that we’ve seen over and over again, but she was modest and the romance develops at a much better pace over there. In Adaline, it’s the modern version that just doesn’t work.
Ellis is a terrible character, I definitely did not like him at all. Adaline was decent for the most part, but the Ellis plot dragged her down and she breaks down a few times, which really weakens her character. She takes the being immortal condition as a cup being half empty when she should have just taken it in stride. Who wouldn’t want to be immortal? (Actually, I wouldn’t want that ability on Earth, but that’s besides the point) There aren’t a whole lot of supporting characters although Ellis’ dad gets a fairly big role as we find out that he used to be close to Adaline. Adaline should have taken more precautions to make sure that she wasn’t recognized, but I suppose that it was tricky. Either way, it also makes Adaline look dicey once again as she flirted with another person for so long. It may have been like 50-60 years ago, but that’s still a bit much.
One thing that really hurt the film was the animal violence that occurred at one point. It was just senseless violence that shouldn’t have been included in the film, but was kept in for shock value and that emotional roller coaster. The dog’s liver or his ribs was failing so Adaline put him down. That’s the kind of plot that was simply unnecessary and I would have preferred for the dog to not even appear if it was all going to end like that. Poor move by the film.
Age of Adaline really should have focused more on the immortal plot. The government who was trying to catch Adaline was a fairly interesting storyline although I wouldn’t want to see any actual experimentation. Just the chase and seeing Adaline evade them for a while would have been neat. All of the fake science talk was interesting in a parody sort of way and I wouldn’t have minded more of that. This film could have easily been a mystery thriller instead of a romance drama. It’s all in how the film chooses the handle the plot.
The problem with the romance has already been explained and the drama doesn’t work as the characters take everything too seriously. Get ready for a lot of crying over just about everything and it gets to be a bit much. You’ll probably also see the ending coming a mile away for the picture perfect ending for Adaline. Without the twist, it may have been more of an epic way to end things. I certainly would have liked that and then we could have had an action sequel.
As for the writing, I’m afraid that it’s not so good. It’s not terrible, there will just be a line once in a while that will make you wince, like Ellis’ sister, who comes out of nowhere with her bad one liners. Ellis’ dad also wasn’t that great as he just created a lot of tension for the lolz and the film should have shown that he had totally moved past his old flame. The memories should have been ancient history for him.
Overall, this sounds like a pretty negative review right? Well, it is to an extent. The film just makes too many mistakes for me like the rushed romance or the animal violence. I can’t say that any of the characters are really likable although the blind lady from near the beginning wasn’t bad. I would have liked to have seen Adaline just living through the decades with a few people finding out about her here and there. That would have been soooo much more interesting. If the film played up the drama and emotional moments a little less, it would have been a much better film. If you’re looking for a good romance/drama, check out Tsubasa Spring Thunder. It gets very emotional while also being epic.