One afternoon in San Francisco, Adaline Bowman purchases fake IDs at an apartment before returning home to feed her dog. She then goes to work and opens a box of film reels, which highlight historical events and times. A voiceover ties together the film reels explaining the story of Adaline's life so far. She was born on New Years Day 1908, then later married and gave birth to a daughter, only to become a widow after her husband died in a tragic accident. Years later, in 1937, Adaline crashed her car when she swerved into a ravine during a snowstorm and died in the freezing lake nearby, but a lightning strike suddenly revived her. From that moment on, Adaline has stayed physically 29 years old. One night, two suspicious FBI agents attempt to force her onto an airplane for study, but she escapes captivity and realizes that she will have to spend the rest of her life on the run. Ever since, she has changed her identification and address according to the era, while her daughter Flemming ages normally, to the point where she appears older than Adaline.