The Age of Adaline: Lively shines in hit or miss romance

Don’t look now, but Blake Lively is a movie STAR deserving of capital letters and could very well become a future Best Actress award winner.

“The Age of Adaline,” an otherwise pedestrian film, is nothing short of a coming out party for the young actress. Sure, Lively doesn’t have the film credits and accolades on the mantle like Jennifer Lawrence, but few young actresses can captivate an audience like Lively does in “Adaline.”

From the moment Lively appears on screen, every little thing she does is mesmerizing — a true vintage Hollywood performance evoking Audrey Hepburn. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to avid Lively fans, who had to be blown away by her transformative performance as a drugged out harlot in the spectacular heist film “The Town.”

The sky is the limit for Lively, which is much more than can be said for the rest of a messy and underwhelming “Age of Adaline.” Co-star Michiel Huisman is way out of his class trying to draw viewers away from Lively even for a brief moment. His angsty, generic boyfriend character is a borderline stalker with a supposed heart of gold, but audiences are left wondering why he is deserving of such a beautiful, yet flawed character.

The plot, which hammers home the same tired romance tropes in science fiction fashion like “About Time” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” is nothing much to write home about, although Lively elevates each scene she’s in far beyond the quality of the written page.

Secondary roles — which feel like cameos by comparison — given to Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford are well acted, yet conceptually flawed and lacking development. Only Lively’s Adaline is both given the time to fully develop as a character on screen and have an actor worthy of the role on screen.

Viewers should consider themselves lucky the Adaline part went to Lively and not its original star, Katherine Heigl. Sometimes one performance can completely make or break a film’s critical and box office success, and Lionsgate hit a home run with Lively, who likely was the only actress besides Anne Hathaway that could have successfully pulled off the role. Lively’s performance alone pushed “Adaline” out of the cinematic gutter and into a date night movie legitimately worth seeing in theaters.

Lively will blow you away with her classic elegance, grace and charm and sometimes, especially this time, that’s enough.

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