Mise-en-scene was one of the elements that the director also used in this film to show how immortality and eternal youth affected Adaline’s life.
The lighting, the setting, the props and all the elements of the mise en scene were used symbolically. Each decade had a specific style, shown in different usage of this elements. The director selected different kinds of lighting in several scenes. Low-key lighting with diffused shadows and atmospheric pools of light was used in the car accident scene to show the state of Adaline in this dangerous and risky accident that caused her to live without aging. On the other hand, high-key lighting was used in the New Year Eve party, when she met Ellis. The use of this kind of lighting in this specific scene because Ellis is the only person Adaline accepted to date and he changed her entire life.
The character proxemics were also used for purpose. The social and personal distance was used by the director to show that Adaline when she first met Ellis she was not comfortable with him, this kind of character proxemics preserved privacy between them especially that Adaline refused to tell any detail about her when she first met him. Moving on to form, form was also used symbolically. The director choses closed form in “The Age of Adaline”, all the necessary information is carefully structured in the scenes to show the eternal youth and immortality of Adaline and how she refused to confess her secret to anyone. The space in the scenes is enclosed and self-contained. All the elements are carefully arranged and held in balance.
In addition, the setting was set precisely chosen in a way that creates both a sense of the place and a mood, to reflect Adaline’s emotional state of mind and show how Adaline was afraid to reveal her immortal secret. Her apartment door had more than five locks and whenever she opens or closes it, she locked them all; this is a way to show how Adaline due to her eternal youth case she refused to get close to anyone who might reveal her secret, she preferred to stay alone locked in her apartment with her dog. Moreover, the curtains of the apartment were very long from the ceiling to the floor, with dark color and always closed. Ellis’s parent house had warm lighting especially in last scene at their forty-anniversary celebration, the lighting was warm, the camera was a medium shot, this set up shows the warm tone. Also, she always had picture from her past such as a photo album of all the dogs she had over the years, pictures of her with his dead husband with their daughter.
This prop was always a memory of Adaline’s past. Instead, the setting for the New Year Eve party was bright, with colorful balloons and decoration, to show the party mood and to show that this party changed the future of Adaline from a dark past and present to a bright future. Additionally, the costume and hair/makeup crew had a meticulous role in the movie to enhance the film’s timeless theme. These people had a painstakingly recreated each and everyday decade in Adaline’s life. The choice of costume is used to convey Adaline’s personality and status; she was always wearing dark color clothes such as black, dark green, brown and dark blue because she was anxious and worried about her immortality state and how to deal with it.
It is important to note that Adaline’s closest friend was blind, she was afraid that she could reveal her secret.