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Film / The Age of Adaline

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The Age of Adaline is an epic fantastic romance starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, and Ellen Burstyn.

Adaline (Lively) dies at the age of 29 after crashing her car into a freezing river in 1937. She is then resurrected by a bolt of lightning but discovers that she does not age normally. Nearly eight decades later, she meets and falls in love with Ellis (Huisman) but resists his attempts to woo her, fearing that she will outlive him.


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The film provides examples of:

  • The '60s: Adaline and William's romance happened in that decade, judging by the fashions and hairstyles.
  • Adult Fear: Being immortal, Adaline gets to see every single one of her loved ones die. Her own daughter even implies that she herself could die soon, much to Adaline's discomfort.
  • Age of Titles: Obviously, although it's also a Double-Meaning Title (see below).
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ellis delivers this about Adaline on his way to save her. When his father asks him how does he know he's in love, he responds:
    Ellis: Because nothing in life makes sense without her!
  • Birthday Hater: Present day Adaline shows some of this.
  • Blind and the Beast: A variation with Adaline and her blind friend. While Adaline isn't hideous in the slightest, her friend's blindness ensures that she doesn't realize Adaline hasn't aged along with her. It's implied she's one of the few people Adaline has kept in contact with, precisely for this reason.
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  • Chekhov's Gunman: Adaline's Second Love whom she ditched turns out to be Ellis' father.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kathy gets immediately upset when she notices her husband's past affections for Adaline.
  • Cool Old Lady: Adaline's daughter Flemming has grown old gracefully and still appears to have an active social life, and offers her mother dating advice. She also has plenty of sass.
    Adaline: Do you not remember our little talk about sodium?
    Flemming: (pouring salt on her dinner) I remember. I'm just choosing to ignore it.
  • Costume Porn: Adaline acquires quite the wardrobe over the years.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Adaline meets Ellis's sister Kikki, the sister bluntly asks if they've done it. Adaline snarks that they did so ten minutes ago on the very car seat she's sitting on.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title mainly refers to Adaline's true chronological age considering that she hasn't physically aged a day past 29 since her magical accident in 1937, but it may also vaguely allude to the 78-year period of her immortality.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Adaline, much to Ellis's terror, although she's actually not a bad driver. She just prefers to go incredibly fast.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Giving her cab driver a detailed suggestion of which route to take indicates that Adaline has lived long enough to know lots.
  • Event Title: The "Age" in the title refers to the 78-year period of Adaline's immortality.
  • First Gray Hair: The final shot of the movie is Adaline discovering hers the year after her aging restarted, and it's the first sign she actually has that it's the case. Unusually for the trope, she's happy about it, because it means she gets to grow old with Ellis.
  • Foreshadowing: At the start Adaline warns the man making her fake ID that the little things are what catch you out. A little thing like the scar on her finger is what alerts William that she and 'Jenny' are the same person.
  • Good Parents: Adaline to Flemming, all circumstances given. Also Ellis' parents.
  • Happy Flashback: To William and Adaline's first meeting and their happy relationship.
  • Happily Married: William and Kathy Jones, who are introduced preparing a celebration of their 40th wedding anniversary.
    William: "When I first met this lovely lady, back in the olden days, I had... I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do in my job, but I didn't really know what I wanted to be as a man, when I grew up. If I ever grew up. But the commitment that she made, to our marriage and our family, to me, the quality of her love led me to understand that I could have no greater ambition in life than to be the best possible husband I could be for her. And I'm still working on it. So, here's to Kathy, love of my life, mate of my soul, mother of my lovely children. To Kathy.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Adaline's spaniel, Reese, appears to be one out of many dogs she's had over the years
  • I Have Many Names: Adaline has had many over her life. She's currently going by Jenny, her blind friend calls her Amanda and she's planning to change to Susan.
  • Hot Librarian: Adaline works as a librarian in The Present Day.
  • Identical Grandson: Sort of. Adaline passes herself off as her own daughter 'Jenny' when she comes face to face with an old flame.
  • Informed Ability: Adaline is described as being fluent in six or seven languages. Other than being a native English speaker, the most we get to see is her translating some Italian and speaking in Portugese over the phone.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: Justified, as Adeline was 29 years old when she had the accident and stopped aging.
  • Immortality Inducer: Adaline stops aging after crashing her car during a freak snowstorm in the San Francisco area, freezing to death in a river, then being struck by lightning.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Adaline stops aging in 1937 after crashing her car in a snowstorm (near San Francisco), freezing to death, then getting struck by lightning. The voice-over says a theory discovered 20 years after the story explains it scientifically. The effect gets reversed by repeating all conditions, with a defibrillator substituting for the lightning.
  • Likes Older Women: Adaline's blind friend certainly thinks this is the case, seeing as she believes Adaline is middle-aged, like she is, and young men keep approaching her at parties.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Flemming certainly thinks so, as she encourages her mother to overcome her fear of it and go out to enjoy her long life.
    Flemming: "If I had your looks and your energy, I'd fall in love tomorrow."
  • The Lost Lenore: Adaline's husband and Flemming's father. She only had one more relationship in the space of a hundred years after that. It's downplayed but she's never gotten close to another man, as she doesn't want to lose another.
  • Love Father, Love Son: Adaline Bowman previously dated William Jones back in the 60's when they were a young couple and in the present day, unintentionally fell in love with his son Ellis Jones.
  • Magic Realism: Adaline is a woman that never ages but the movie portrays her as a normal woman just trying to live her life.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: The only friend Adaline stays with for a significant period of time is blind and thus unable to notice Adaline's ongoing youth.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Despite her efforts, Adaline falls for Ellis, but resists his advances as best she can to avoid outliving him.
  • Motif: Stars, comets, and constellations frequently appear.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Subverted. After Adaline has her immortality revoked in a repeat of her accident, she physically remains the same. The only indication that she's now aging at a normal rate is a grey hair she finds.
  • The One That Got Away: Adaline was this for a man called William, Ellis's father.
  • Protagonist Title: Adeline is the film's main character.
  • Renaissance Man: Due to her immortality, Adaline has done plenty of things in her life.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Adaline falls in love and it's implied she'll get to grow old with the son of William, the one man she told her real name and nearly married.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Adaline is caught in a life that will not change, never aging, constantly running from those she might get close to for fear of giving away her secret, until she decides to change on her own, at which point the freak accident that stopped her aging is recreated, restoring her to normal.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Adaline is hit on by three guys at the New Year's Eve party - Dale the painter, an unnamed man suggesting she kiss a stranger, and Ellis. The last one is of course the one who becomes the main love interest. Ellis is also the third love interest Adaline has had in the story. Her husband Clarence from before she stopped ageing and then William, with whom she had a fling in The '60s.
    • Adaline also has three different aliases that we know about in the film. She's currently going by Jenny, her older blind friend knows her as Amanda, and her next planned one is Susan.
  • Scars Are Forever: Seeing "Jenny"'s scar in the same area where Adaline got a deep wound is what clues William that the women are the same person.
  • Scenery Porn: The many shots of San Francisco
  • Second Love: Kathy was this for William, after Adaline broke his heart. William himself is this to Adeline, the first being Flemming's father. Ellis is her third and final.
  • Sherlock Scan: After living for so long, Adaline gets good at noticing small details. In her Establishing Character Moment at the start of the movie, she's able to quickly tell that the guy selling her forged documents gave her a fake name, because the autographed baseballs in his room are signed for a different name.
  • Shipper on Deck: Kiki is this for Ellis and Adaline even Flemming when she finds out
  • Snow Means Death: Adaline first "dies" after running her car off the road into a freezing river in an unusual snowfall. It happens again after she decides to stop running and is injured in a car crash. The snow recreates the same condition in her body as the first time, and a paramedic's defibrillator completes the process, bringing her back to life, mortal once again.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Ellis is a doctor and astronomer's son who's also inherited a huge fortune - and uses it to help restore historical artifacts around the city.
  • Statuesque Stunner: The beautiful Adaline stands 5'10.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Adaline after gaining immortality, to the point where she has to disappear.
  • They Would Cut You Up: After being discovered by a police officer, Adaline narrowly escaped being sent somewhere presumably for "study". She clearly fears a repeat of this and what that might include, staying under the radar over the subsequent decades.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Izabel Pearce plays Flemming at age five, Cate Richardson at age twenty, and Ellen Burstyn in her eighties.
  • Troubled Back Story Flashback: The loss of her husband, the accident that stopped her ageing and her eventual going into hiding is relayed while Adaline watches old newsreel footage.
  • Walking the Earth: Adaline has lived all over the United States and the farthest that she's traveled was England and France.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Adaline's immortality forces her to become reclusive, constantly on the move, and shut herself off from being close to anyone. Her happy ending is discovering that she has started ageing again.

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