Friday, 22 May 2015

REVIEW - THE AGE OF ADALINE (LEE TOLAND KRIEGER)


You ever see a film and wonder if it only got made because the filmmakers fancied a Costume Designers Guild nomination? This one got made because they wanted three. Alas, The Age of Adaline is short on fantasy, and is hardly contemporary (its commercial banality isn't nearly as new as one often tends to think), but is wholeheartedly period in its dedication to straightforward romantic storytelling. If that means that the film misses out on dozens of ripe opportunities for idiosyncrasy and invention, it at least is able to substitute that with a romantic resolve that's very enjoyable to watch, in a wholly non-challenging way. I say 'able' because I'm not sure that director Lee Toland Krieger is 'able' to achieve both simultaneously - when The Age of Adaline is forced to spin off onto outrageous sci-fi tangents necessitated by the plot's central conceit, it does so only momentarily; much of the rest of the film feels like it's occurring in the wake of some unshakeable, fantastical event, although maybe that was just me projecting. If you can suspend your disbelief for an entire film and just look at the costumes, you'll probably find The Age of Adaline a delight... actually, given Blake Lively's anachronistic frump of a wardrobe (albeit a thoroughly chic frump), even that requires a hefty chunk of suspension too. Oh, and so does the plot, no matter whether you take it in context, with the daffy astronomical babble at either end, or just in bitesize pieces, where even then the coincidences stack up and soon reach mind-boggling heights. All as a straightforward romance, you see, because the tone here is 'restrained' and 'respectable'. Ah, ok. Put that disbelief on eternal suspension!