Blake Lively (Gossip Girl television series), stars as Adaline Bowman. She was happily married and had a young daughter, but her husband was tragically killed during the building of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Then, in 1935 when San Francisco was having a rare snowfall, Adaline’s car slid off of the road and ended up at the bottom of a freezing river. Adaline’s body temperature dropped, and her heart stopped. When it looked like she would die, a lightning bolt brought her back to life. It also resulted in Adaline not being able to age. She would remain at a beautiful 29 years of age. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, not really.
You see as everyone else was aging, including her daughter Flemming (played later in life by Ellen Burstyn), Adaline remained just as she was when the accident occurred. Soon people began asking questions. This resulted in Adaline moving often and changing her name as she did. It was actually a very lonely and sad life that she lived. She didn’t allow herself to get close to anyone as she knew any relationship would have to be a short one. One of those relationships was with a young William Jones (Anthony Ingruber) who had planned to propose to her.
Adaline meets Ellis (Michael Huisman (Game of Thrones television series), who serves on the board of the library/museum where Adaline is working. Ellis is persistent in asking her out. After refusing him several times Adaline finally agrees. After dating for a while, Adaline goes with Ellis to his parent’s home (played by Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker), to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. This is where the film gets particularly interesting, and features a strong performance from the 72 year old Ford, who will next reprise his role as Hans Solo in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
Summary – Morality? It includes a small amount of adult language and a few abuses of God’s name. None of the characters reflect any relationship with God and sex outside of marriage is portrayed. Good things – it showed the celebration of marriage and family and the man being the pursuer in a romantic relationship. The film features Adaline’s beautiful wardrobe and scenes of the picturesque San Francisco as we follow her through the different time periods of her life. It was a lovely but not memorable film.
This film is directed by first time director Rupert Goold, who also co-wrote the script. It is based on Michael Finkel’s 2005 book “True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa”.
We meet Michael Finkel () of the New York Times doing a major story on the slave trade in Africa in 2001. This is projected to be another New York Times Magazine cover story for Finkel, and will perhaps lead to him receiving the Pulitzer Prize. But it turns out that he plays with the facts, and rather than winning the Pulitzer, he is fired. He then returns to Montana where he lived with girlfriend (now wife) Jill (Felicity Jones).
We first meet Christian Longo (James Franco) in a Catholic Church in Mexico. Fast forward a bit and Finkel is contacted by a reporter from Oregon who tells him that Longo has been arrested for killing his wife and three young children and had taken on Finkel’s identity while in Mexico.
Finkel asks to meet with Longo. Longo makes a proposal to the disgraced writer – if he will keep the story to himself until after the trial and teach Longo how to write, he will give his story exclusively to Finkel. Sensing an opportunity to restore his reputation as a journalist, Finkel agrees and soon realizes that more than just an article, this story has book potential. He then negotiates a book deal with a $250,000 advance.
The movie explores the complicated relationship between Finkel and Longo. Themes of narcissism and lies permeate the story as they look to use each other for their own benefit. What is the true story and who can we trust?
Hill and Franco give solid performances; especially take note of Franco’s eyes. Jones is mostly under-utilized, but offers up perhaps the film’s most powerful (and fictionalized) scene when she visits Longo in prison. (In reality Jill and Longo exchanged letters and spoke on the phone but never met in person).
The film is rated “R” due to the murder theme, some adult language and brief nudity (via a picture of a dead body).