Film Research: The Age Of Adaline 2015

The Age Of Adaline


Adaline Bowman was born 1st January 1908. One evening following the death of her beloved husband, 29 year old Adaline looses control of her car and veers off a road due to a freak weather storm. She collides into freezing water where she dies. Miraculously a lightning bolt restarts her heart and leaves her with a dark secret. That very moment her heart restarted meant she would remain 29 years old forever. This harrowing film follows the trails and tribulations Adaline faces during her 107 years on this earth while she remains the appearance of a beautiful and youthful 29 year old woman.

During her 70 years of hiding her secret Adaline lived through so many decades and witnessed many different political, social and historical moments. She traveled to many countries including Paris, London and New York all under a false name so she could remain ‘missing’ by suspicious authorities (motif) Adaline never allowed herself to get close to anyone who could potentially reveal her secret, her pain of never growing old with someone meant she could never fall in love completely as she would always have to leave, this is a common motif in films.

The film flicks through different eras to show her life in certain stages for example meeting people, jobs, travels but the film mostly concentrates on her current reality which is very implicit as I assume that it is 2014/15. why? conventional iPhone 5s spotted during the film! Adaline is settled in San Francisco but plans to move along soon but she stumbles across a man during a party who’m falls in love with her, little does Adaline know her secret identity could be in jeopardy if she continues her relationship with this man, which she does.

William is an astrologist and ex army personnel. Ellis is Williams son, who brings Adaline who calls herself ‘Jenny’ along to a family weekend where William is astounded, could this woman standing in front of him really be Adaline? The woman he fell in love with 50 years ago in London? quick to question her Adaline or Jenny as she calls herself quickly replies that Adaline was in fact her Mother to disguise her heart ache from seeing her old lover. William is astounded at how identical Adaline looks to Jenny (Which viewers know is because she is Adaline!) and brushes it to the back of his mind until a very bad mistake is made by Adaline, she reveals a scar on her hand that sends William into a panic, 50 years ago William stitched that very hand and Adaline’s secret is revealed! She confesses and runs away as she fears Ellis will find out.

 Driving down a road, Adaline was subject to a hit and run sending her plummeting down a bank. Freak weather appears yet again and Adaline dies, age 107 alone and cold once again. Her heart is restarted and Adaline takes her first breath. For some unknown reason she was now able to resume the normal aging process from age 29, happily with Ellis. This was a motif particularly in this film alone as this had already happened once!
My analysis

The Age Of Adaline is a film of many eras, trends and styles. If you don’t watch closely you can get lost (I had to restart it twice). The film itself was very emotional, I often became saddened by her grief and experiences but also found myself happy when things in Adaline’s life went well. I believe this is something the director/writer wanted to happen, I think he wanted to make an emotional impact on the viewers.

The introduction to the film showed some formalist cinematography, the ‘camera’ cascades into earth and narrows down into San Francisco, there is a meaning behind the use of this, I have researched into films Lee Toland Krieger directed and could not find any patterns so I re watched the opening and the music playing is very peaceful and some what sad. There is a narrator speaking over the music explaining the character we are about to meet and he finalizes by saying ‘This is the first and last chapter of her story’ those words instantly panicked me, I expected something terrible to happen right away but it didn’t. Those words played with my emotions and made me want to continue watching the film.

The next thing I noticed when Adaline first appeared on screen was that I couldn’t help but notice it was 2014 yet she was styled and her hair and make up were mirroring towards 1950’s which I now realise was because she had lived through so many eras that I assumed it told us a story of how she has seen so many styles come, go, fail and succeed that maybe she finally found how she wanted to look and kept rolling with it for all those years!

 We see a few subtle changed during the film with Adalines style, hair and make up. She tends to keep a very 50’s inspired look throughout the film which is based in the current year (2014)but as you can see in the picture below, during her flashbacks the designer tended to keep her look date specific for example the 1925 look would be something I would class as mirroring a factual look.
 adaline timeline

As for the Genre of this film, I wouldn’t be able to place it into one category. Drama, Romance, History, Sci Fi. They all fit into this film which makes it brilliant. Its such a vast film with such a deep story, she experiences such pain, loss and devastation during her life including having to leave her daughter behind, loosing her husband and not being able to fall in love again really gives us an emotional connection to the film. The way the director conveys this with camera angles, music, props and scene settings is excellent. I can’t help but think there may also be another meaning towards the film that perhaps the director was not aiming towards possibly realized was that he visually and emotionally portrayed something a lot of women desire, to stay young and in their primes forever.

Motifs in the film-
Romantic Interest
Visual Motifs-
City’s- San Francisco (Not very common but a city is a very common location for films)

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