'Adaline' & 7 Other Movies About Living Forever

by Maitri Suhas

Do you really wanna live forever? Maybe if I looked like Blake Lively, I would. The former gossip girl stars in the forthcoming The Age of Adaline as the title character, a woman born in 1908 who, after a car accident in the 1930s, gains the power of eternal youth. But there's a catch (ah, isn't there always) — she has a family, and soon her daughter surpasses her in age. Very heartbreaking, no? Generally, The Age of Adaline looks over-the-top (the trailer itself has a voiceover narrator) and appears very melodramatic — but who cares? I'll see it anyway, because I love weird films about the fountains of youth and the implications of immortality and the gradual madness of living forever. Also, Harrison Ford is in it, so sign me up.

Adaline is hardly the first film to tackle the "Be careful what you wish for" theme of being young and beautiful and vital forever — as Adaline says in the trailer to her aged daughter (played by Ellen Burstyn) when asked if she missed having someone to love: "It's not the same if there's no growing old together." The line is pretty on point. Here are seven other movies where time stands still, for better or for worse.


Who didn't love this book as a kid? The 2002 Disney adaptation of this Natalie Babbitt book stars Alexis Bledel as Winnie Foster, a girl who gets all mixed up with a cute boy named Jessie Tuck, who, coincidentally, is from a whole family of Tucks that can't age because they drink from a spring that's the fountain of youth. They fall in love and stuff and then she has to decide if she wants to live forever or not. Pretty tough decision for a 15-year old, if you ask me.


AKA, "Wait, what?" Cloud Atlas is another book-based film; the 2012 movie adapts the 2004 David Mitchell novel of the same name. I'll be honest — I saw the film AND listened to the audiobook and was still pretty confused, but in general this one is less strictly about eternal life and more about the threads that traverse all time and space to connect everything together. There's a lot of Tom Hanks, too, which makes up for some of the confusion.


By faaaar the funniest story about preserving ageless beauty. Meryl Streep is perfect, of course, as wretched and vain Madeleine, a past-her-prime star that finds a woman who gives her a potion to keep her young forever. The hitch though: her husband, who's having an affair with her rival, Helen (Goldie Hawn), wants to murder her — which obviously, he can't. Death Becomes Her is chockfull of delightful special effects (y'all know the most iconic: Goldie in a red gown with a whole blown through her core).


Don't watch this one unless you want to be sad as hell. Henry (Eric Bana) is the titular time traveler; it's something he can't control, which is not awesome. He meets and falls in love with Clare (Rachel McAdams), but his random disappearances backwards or forwards in time really put a strain on their relationship. They try to figure it out and also try to have a family, and you know that that can't end well.


Like Cloud Atlas, The Fountain is pretty incomprehensible, but absolutely beautiful to watch. It's from director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and true to his M.O., it's prettty ambiguous. There are three intertwining stories about three couples across three eras, but they MAY or MAY NOT be but probably are the same couple, somehow, flung across the limits of time. Even if you don't get it, it's worth a watch for the outstanding visual effects and because the leads, Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, are a sight for sore eyes.


Yes, yes, here it is: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is undoubtedly the most famous story about time-travel(ish) that's debuted in the last few years. Like Adaline, it follows Benjamin (Brad Pitt) as he ages backwards and tries to deal with it while also falling in love with Cate Blanchett. It's pretty bleak and pretty long but solid performances from Blanchett and Pitt, and you get to see Brad Pitt with some wack makeup on.


There are many, many vampire movies that could have gone on this list, but if you haven't seen the 1983 The Hunger starring David Bowie, FIX IT. Bowie plays a young lover, John, to a vampire temptress, the glorious Catherine Deneuve as Miriam, who promises him he will live forever. And he does—but he soon learns that doesn't mean he'll keep his youth forever. Bowie, betrayed! It's excellent.

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