Lively’s likeability disguises a confounding & occasionally brilliant body of work – including this ridiculous, if elegant drama about a woman who doesn’t age


Whether by choice or by the fickle nature of Hollywood, many teen stars fade into obscurity after their time in the spotlight. Not Blake Lively: since the end of Gossip Girl, the controversial teen soap that catapulted her to lớn fame in the late-2000s, her star has only risen. In 2022, she consistently makes headlines as a kind of well-liked tabloid figure, known for her (often insufferable) red carpet antics with husband Ryan Reynolds, her show-stopping Met Gala outfits, và her friendships with megacelebs lượt thích Taylor Swift.

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Her veneer of everywoman likeability, though, hides a body toàn thân of acting work that is confounding & occasionally brilliant – a list of credits far more fascinating than many other actors of Lively’s milieu. Where one might look at her IMDb và expect to see a laundry các mục of animated films, superhero sequels and bland adaptations (see her husband’s IMDb page), Lively’s filmography is surprisingly unconventional.

She played an embattled single mother in Ben Affleck’s acclaimed crime thriller The Town, và was widely praised for her role as a surfer being hunted by sharks in The Shallows. She displayed gonzo commitment khổng lồ her performance as a silver-tongued bisexual grifter in the bizarre và profoundly camp film A Simple Favour. Elsewhere, she has played a conspiracy-theorising assassin and, perhaps regrettably, starred in a latter-period Woody Allen film. But to lớn each of these roles, Lively brings an alluring, witty toughness; a kind of mischievous inscrutability that means that, even when the film lags, she is a joy khổng lồ watch.

Many of these films were poorly received, but it’s still fairly remarkable that, over and over, Lively continues choosing projects that are conceptually ambitious và likely lie below her pay grade. In terms of former teen stars done good, only Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, megastars-turned-indie darlings, have more interesting track records.

One of my favourite films in the Lively oeuvre is the strange, appealingly melancholy lãng mạn drama The Age of Adaline. In the film, Lively plays the titular Adaline, a woman born in 1908 who, after crashing her car during a lightning storm, becomes stuck at the age of 29. It’s a ridiculous premise, but this elegant, pleasantly self-serious film totally sells it.

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For much of the film, Adaline floats through life as a woman with no fixed trang chủ and no fixed identity, moving around every decade or so in order to evade FBI interest in her condition, constantly leaving heartbroken lovers & empty houses in her wake. She lives a painfully lonely existence; her daughter – who ages as her mother remains young – is the only person on earth who knows her secret.

The Age of Adaline is sometimes a little hammy – a tad too stylised, with a slowness that nonetheless befits a story about a woman forced to lớn exist alone for decades on kết thúc – but for the most part, Lively is perfectly cast as this film’s emotionally distant protagonist.


‘A great late-career turn’. Harrison Ford in The Age of Adaline. Photograph: Diyah Pera/APAdaline’s glamorous version of vagrancy, though, is hardly the main driver of the film. In its second half, The Age of Adaline pivots into a more traditional love triangle romance, conjuring a twist that’s bizarre & heartbreaking in equal measure. I won’t spoil it here, but needless khổng lồ say, The Age of Adaline wrings a surprising amount of tension & narrative drive from an undeniably convoluted plot thread.

Where lesser actors may have leaned into the hammy B-movie constraints, Lively and her co-stars – Harrison Ford, in a great late-career turn, as well as Ellen Burstyn as Adaline’s daughter – wonderfully underplay their parts. Ultimately, though, it’s Lively who holds the whole thing together, proving her worth as a truly magnetic star with a commitment lớn the craft that’s elevated every role she’s taken.