The Age of Adaline, Blake Lively’s new movie, has its first trailer and it looks like a hybrid of Winter’s Tale and Benjamin Button, with special effects straight from The CW. It’s about Adaline, who defeats time in a car accident and stops aging as a prize, then has to watch her family grow old as she remains forever Blake Lively. And then Daario Naharis shows up and they bone.
I will give it this—when Ellen Burstyn is on screen, I am immediately interested. But the trailer is mostly just Blake. Blake in pin curls, Blake in a great coat, Blake making Blake Face. This is a very pretty trailer—um, hello guy playing Young Harrison Ford, and also still looking at you, Daario—but what is this except another story about love conquering time? Why does this story always have to be fantastical? It always needs magic or time travel or space (see also: Interstellar). This is actually making me nostalgic for the relative simplicity of The Notebook, a movie I do not like. (Any time people are promising their love in the rain, I’m laughing.)
A movie about a woman’s life spanning the 20th century—the trailer establishes that Adaline was born in 1908—could be fascinating without the gimmick. Get three great actresses to play her and just tell the story of a woman living through two world wars, the Great Depression, civil rights, women’s liberation. Picture Adaline, as played by Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Ellen Burstyn, as she lives through all of those events. That could be a great movie, with a unique way of showing how feminine ideals and the role of women changed over the century. Or we could just look at Blake making her Blake Face in a succession of cute coats.