This follows very much in the recent tradition of time frame related tortured love affairs, after the likes of ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ (09), ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ (08) and to a lesser extent ‘About Time‘, and in this case it revolves around central character Adaline (Blake Lively) enduring a fateful car crash in the 1930s which, whilst momentarily unpleasant, had the upside of granting her with eternal youth. Upon realising this she goes underground and attempts to live out the rest of her days as a librarian, clearly not watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (46) when it’s released and thus remaining unaware this makes her an OLD MAID and is therein a fate worse than death.
It’s doesn’t make any sense really, it’s not like she can read minds or turn people’s pets inside out when she sneezes or anything so one would be forgiven for thinking she may eventually realise she has something pretty useful to potentially offer mankind as it clearly occurred as a result of the happenstance of the accident, but she elects to stay in hiding of course until the strongest force in the universe, cosmic star-crossed love, pulls her away from reading every book ever read and threatens to undo everything she’s been trying to accomplish up until then, which admittedly wasn’t a great deal. Michiel Huisman plays the love interest and to be honest my proverbial hat goes off to anyone who can reliably pay attention to anything he says throughout the multiple dreary dates they go on as it all seems to translate into ‘I am merely saying the first thing that comes into my head right now to stop from salivating and I will do whatever it takes to get into your pants’ all of which is the fault of the writing rather than the performer but the pair have about as much chemistry as cohabitating inert gases.
Adaline herself seems to be of the same mind, and when her beau steals her address from the library so he can see her again and then turns up outside her flat she flips out at him – which was genuinely refreshing to see. Unfortunately though, she quickly changes her tune and ends up, literally, grovelling for his forgiveness. Hopeless. In any event, it becomes apparent that this particularly stale appetiser was simply lining the audience up for the main course, as acting heavyweight Harrison Ford enters the fray and the film then becomes a really good example of how one great actor on form can save everything else from the trash can. Suddenly there is a much deeper emotional connection and more bite to the romance. Lively plays the demure role she’s been given probably about as well as it was possible to do, and the movie is well shot with an appropriate sense of atmosphere, although it does contain one of the longest standing tropes of editing and directing which you will see coming a mile off, and although it’s a great shame there is such a lack of substance in major areas, enough is done by the end to at least claw back something of emotional value for the audience.