'The Age of Adaline' Movie Review

Should you see Blake Lively's new movie?

ByABC News
April 24, 2015, 2:32 PM

— -- Starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn

Rated PG-13

Three out of five stars

It’s springtime, with love and flowers in bloom, which means it’s the perfect time of year for a movie date. But pickings have been slim on that front lately, unless the testosterone of "Furious 7" turns you on. Thankfully, the decently date-worthy "The Age of Adaline" arrives in theaters this weekend, ready to inspire some snuggling.

Blake Lively stars as the title character, a woman who becomes frozen in time at 29 years old. Early on in the film, a polite-sounding voiceover man explains the science behind this anomaly -- it’s part freak accident, part superhero origin story -- but it’s best just to accept it and move on. As the world ages around Adaline, she develops not even the slightest wrinkle, which, of course is fun for her at first but eventually becomes problematic, forcing Adaline to live a life on the run. When we meet her, she’s grown tired of constantly looking over her shoulder and never forming lasting human connections. She’s also figured out how to exist while living the most uncomplicated life she can.

Until, of course, she meets the guy who changes her life forever.

Michiel Huisman plays Ellis Jones, who’s serviceable as Adaline’s dashing love interest. But when the two of them are on screen, it’s her you’re watching, not him. Huisman’s proven he can hold his own on TV shows, including "Game of Thrones," "Nashville," "Orphan Black" and more, but he’s too quiet a presence to be a big-screen leading man, at least right now. And he’s no match for Lively.

"The Age of Adaline" is really all about Blake Lively coming out as a movie star. Sure, she’s made a name for herself on TV’s "Gossip Girl" and movies, including "Green Lantern," "The Town," and "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." But this is the first major movie she’s carried, and she undeniably has that X-factor: a warmth and charm that seems effortless, with that hint of aloofness that only the major stars have. Attitude-wise, Lively is Julia Roberts crossed with Angelina Jolie, and Hollywood’s hers for the taking, if she wants it.

Director Lee Toland Krieger knows it, as evidenced by his long, lingering close-ups. Krieger himself is no slouch behind the camera. The 32-year-old directs this film with the mature and stylish hand of a much more seasoned pro. We’ll probably see some great things from this USC film school grad, who up until now was probably best known for directing 2012’s romantic comedy "Celeste & Jesse Forever."

However, stylish directing and a captivating actress can only carry a film so far. Adaline herself, frankly, isn’t all that interesting, especially for a woman who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the civil rights movement and the dawn of the Internet age. She’s good at trivia and can speak several languages, but that’s about it. There’s an emotional connection missing, which ultimately holds this film back.

Also holding back the movie are small parts for great actors who aren’t given enough to do. Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn’s roles could have been played by anyone. Here, they’re little more than window dressing, which seems a waste.

So while "The Age of Adaline," and Lively, are lovely to look at, you’ll probably only fall in like with this love story.