Blake Lively, quietly dazzling in pictures like The Town and the almost embarrassingly enjoyable Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, has been off the scene since Oliver Stone’s 2012 Savages, presumably just living an actual life.
She returns at last in Lee Toland Krieger’s romantic melodrama The Age of Adaline, playing a woman, born at the turn of the century, who miraculously survives a serious car accident and, as the result of a half-magical, half-scientific fluke, is rendered ageless. That’s not so bad, even if Adaline’s daughter (Ellen Burstyn) eventually looks old enough to be her mother.
The real problems kick in when Adaline falls in love with a hottie some 75 years her junior (Michiel Huisman), whose dad (Harrison Ford) wonders why his son’s lithe young girlfriend looks so familiar. Actually, it’s all way more innocent than it sounds: The Age of Adaline is clearly striving for the starry intrigue of, say, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Lord knows we could use a good romantic weeper before the full-on summer-movie assault.
But everything is just a little off: The plot is resolved too tidily, and Lively appears ill at ease — she’s stiff and self-consciously ladylike, as if she were a little embarrassed by the material. She does get to wear a nice assortment of vintage-looking dresses and cardigans, including a liquid burgundy evening gown that could have been borrowed from Barbara Stanwyck’s wardrobe for The Lady Eve. Lively wears it well, but for now, at least, time isn’t on her side.