The Web    www.100share.com    Google
 
The Age of Innocence
List Price: $14.94

Our Price: $6.31

You Save: $8.63 (58%)

 


Product Description

A ravishing romance about three wealthy new yorkers caught in a tragic love triangle the ironically-titled story chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy of high society in the 1870s. At the center of the fim is newland archer an upstanding attorney who secretly longs for a more passionate life. Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 04/24/2007 Starring: Daniel Day-lewis Winona Ryder Run time: 138 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Martin Scorcese

Martin Scorsese does not sound like the logical choice to direct an adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about manners and morals in New York society in the 1870s. But these are mean streets, too, and the psychological violence inflicted between characters is at least as damaging as the physical violence perpetrated by Scorsese's usual gangsters. At the center of the tale is Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), a somewhat diffident young man engaged to marry the very respectable May Welland (Winona Ryder). But Archer is distracted by May's cousin, the Countess Olenska (a radiant Michelle Pfeiffer), recently returned from Europe. As a married woman seeking a divorce, the countess is an embarrassment to all of New York society. But Archer is fascinated by her quick intelligence and worldly ways. Scorsese closely observes the tiny details of this world and this impossible situation; this is a movie in which the shift of someone's eyes can be as significant as the firing of a gun. The director's sense of color has never been keener, and his work with the actors is subtle. That's Joanne Woodward narrating, telling us only as much as we need to know--which is one reason why the climax comes as such a surprise.--Robert Horton

Customer Reviews:

  • THE AGE OF HYPOCRACY CAPTURED ON DVD
    Based on the novel by Edith Warton, "The Age of Innocence" is the story of a corrupt lover's triangle. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a young barrister who is engaged to Meg Welland (Wynonna Ryder) but ends up lusting after her cousin, Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfieffer) instead. Director, Martin Scorsese paces the film like Warton's book, slowly, methodically but with an attention to details that is as captivating as it is compelling to watch. No one wants to see the countess divorced though everyone is hoping that she will break apart Newland's marriage so that the scandal of it all will make for interesting dinner conversations and parlour speculation. This is grand entertainment, told with a masterful hand and celebrated with great depth of emotion and character.
    Columbia's transfer of the film is an adequate attempt, though there is excessive loss of fine detail in many of the scenes due to overuse of noise reduction video equipment. Some minor edge enhancement and pixelization appear sporadically throughout but nothing that will distract. Colors are warm, well balanced and rich throughout. The sound is amply presented and spacially natural sounding. We don't get any extras with this disc, a real shame!...more info
  • Great movie -- but this particular version is GERMAN!!
    This movie is awesome -- absolute perfection -- I've seen it a million times and was excited to finally own it. But to my dismay, when it came it was in GERMAN!! AND -- it couldn't play on my DVD Player!

    When I logged back into my account I could see that it was, indeed, my own mistake (if you look really, REALLY close at the very tiny image you can see the title's in German, and if you look very, VERY carefully down through the entire stats. list you will see that the primary language is German) but I felt like this ad was VERY misleading! Whether this is the fault of Caiman or Amazon I really couldn't say, but I feel like this ad needs to make it MUCH clearer that this is a German version.
    Like I say, I've seen this film a million times so I wasn't spending a whole lot of time scanning every single detail -- I was just quickly shopping for the best price on a DVD of The Age of Innocence!

    My 12-yr. old son had the great idea (in the face of my terrible disappointment) to just go ahead and play it, since it probably had an option (like most DVDs) for playing the disk in its original English. I was all excited about this, until the FURTHER blow that the disk is unplayable on standard American DVD players!! I mean, c'mon!!

    Yes, once again, if you look carefully the ad DOES indicate this, but I just feel that the whole thing is ridiculous! This is such a HIGHLY SPECIALIZED item, for a such a very specific group of people, that it should NOT be listed right along with all the standard, original versions of The Age of Innocence.

    I am sending this back and hoping (Dear God!) that Caiman will refund my money. So far their service has been pretty good (disk came in about 5 days, and they've been prompt in their email responses) but...I guess time will tell!
    I just don't want other people to make this same mistake!...more info
  • Such a beautiful film...
    I really enjoyed this movie. I watched it after I read the novel and it really made it come to life before my eyes. They story's wonderful, of course, but I really loved the intricate costumes and lavish sets....more info
  • Mean Streets
    In THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, Martin Scorsese has abandoned his
    oft-tread mileu, the mean streets of present-day New York, for a period and setting that some have speculated would be more appropriate subject matter for a Merchant-Ivory film.
    But New York is New York and Mr. Scorsese seems as mesmerized by the New York of the 19th Century as he is by the New York of the 20th. Edith Wharton's dry, satiric prose is given an erotic bloom, bursting blossoms and vivid colors splashing across the
    screen with an energetic immediacy that Mr. Scorsese usually reserves for graphic bloodletting. The struggle of Newland Archer, as played by Daniel Day-Lewis, between a boundless liberalism and the strict, repressive society around him is present in this fine actor's every gesture. To contrast his performance here with his wild, ferocious work in Scorsese's GANGS OF NEW YORK is to bear witness to an almost absurd level of versatility. Winona Ryder is somewhat miscast but conveys ample complexity. It is Michelle Pfeiffer's radiant performance that sets the picture ablaze, though. You want to drown in her eyes, even as the world is crushing her with every spin....more info
  • The talk of the town.
    The Age of Innocence is a beautiful period piece based on the classic novel, it's still strange to me that this film was directed by Martin Scorcese. Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder play the lead characters, Pfeiffer is so vulnerable and stunning here - she never got the respect she deserved as a serious actress. I like this film but it isn't flawless but still good enough to check it out, enjoy!...more info
  • Ravishing
    Martin Scorsese directing a Merchant-Ivory film might superficially describe "The Age of Innocence," but it would do an injustice to both parties. This is a Marty movie through and through -- beautifully filmed, expertly acted, and thematically obsessed with guilt, passion, and moral failings.

    In adapting Edith Wharton's classic novel of forbidden love in a repressive society, Scorsese has an anthropologist's obsessive eye for cultural detail -- the cutlery, the dainty dishes, the linen, the clothes. And of course the social rituals -- the after-dinner brandy & cigar, opera-going audience gazing, and the handwritten notes attached to bouquets of flowers. The attention to surface texture in the film has a transporting effect; it is one of the best period pieces ever made.

    Time-traveling to an unfamiliar milieu freed Scorsese's aesthetic instincts. "The Age of Innocence" is hardly a polite study of quaint social customs; it is a passionate, adventurous film, dripping with color and breathtaking compositions. Scorsese revels in the texture of the world he and his collaborators have painstakingly recreated, a world where passions are lidded but bubble over in the form of colorful flower bouquets and passionate opera arias. This film belongs on a shortlist of the most physically ravishing films ever made (and not just because of Michelle Pfeiffer), but because Scorsese cuts loose with his painterly style of image-making.

    Though a PG-rated period piece might seem like a departure for Scorsese, he observed that "This film deals with the same matters that can be found in my work in the last 25 years. There is guilt, desire, obsessed passion and the weakness to satisfy that passion." Notice how he describes the desire to satisfy passion as a "weakness." Where most directors would romanticize the love affair between Newland and the Countess, Scorsese sees it as doomed from the start, and he is careful not to make either character (especially Newland) too sympathetic. Newland has eaten of the fruit of passion, and the fact that Scorsese does not (necessarily) valorize his passion makes the film that much more interesting. Newland's choice was between duty and passion, honor and real love. A less astute, less interesting filmmaker than Scorsese would have made the choice a no-brainer, damn the consequences. For most modern storytellers, passion is paramount. Passion is freedom. For Scorsese, passion has a dark side. Although he recognizes the hypocrisy and barely-concealed vindictiveness of aristocratic society, there remains something recognizably Old World about his sensibilities....more info
  • Fails to engage
    Tried to care about this elegant saga, but despite all the fetching details and careful crafting, it all feels rather pointless. Michelle Pfeiffer turns in a radiant performance in her effort to prevail through these overstuffed rooms and overwrought sensibilities, but can't quite manage it.

    The stumbling point, in my view, Daniel Day-Lewis here plainly just doesn't cut it as a leading man. His emasculated, simpering deadpan, dispensing dialogue medicinally as so much cough syrup, completely fails to engage as a romantic figure. The notion of Michelle's ravishing, vivacious character head over heels for him is more than a stretch. I've seen gunfighters with more chemistry than these two. Their first intimate scene, eek! Comes off like a stumble in a crowded bus. This mis-casting is quite annoying, as this movie appears in many ways to have had real promise.

    Wynona Ryder does well enough as the porcelain, sidelined fiance, but what does it matter, the whole thing fails on the glaring mismatch of the two leads....more info
  • Stunning and Evocative
    This adaptation of Ms. Wharton's classic is pretty darn close to the book, and it certainly translates the time period as well as the customs and culture (something a number of reviewers just didn't get). The performances are excellent, costumes and sets beautiful, and the narration (by Joanne Woodward) helps flesh out and explain a few scenes. The most amazing thing to me, at the time and since, was the performance by W. Ryder, who, up until this film, left me annoyed or bored. In this movie, she displays a shredness and depth that left me stunned. At first she seems just another upper class dolt, following the social dictates of the time and participating in a partly arranged marriage. Then, towards the final third of the movie she lets it be known that she isn't a fool, yet keeps with the decorum she feels is required. Excellent....more info
  • Age of Innocence
    Silly "period" movie. Bought it because RSL is in it.
    Service from vendor was quick and competent....more info
  • Scars of the Heart!!!
    A lush, period film....overly well-mannered characters...dialogue often not spoken much above a whisper....and this film was directed by Martin Scorsese, director of Goodfellows, the ultimate wiseguys movie about gangsters???? What's going on here??? What would a famed Mafiosi director know about a period comedy set in 1870's New York high society? Well, quite a bit, actually. Reportedly, Scorsese BEGGED for the chance to direct this epic, saying he grew up in a such a society, and understood it better than almost anyone else. The close-knit families, the strict codes of conduct and honor, a highly structured society lorded over by the most elite families; in short, there are many, many similarities between Edith Wharton's New York and Martin Scorsese's Big Apple. Wharton's society mavens use whispers and rumours instead of bullets to leave their heart scars, but the effect is the same: one must conform to this highly structured society or leave it. Daniel Day-Lewis is Newland Archer, the rising young lawyer and member of New York society whose evenings are spent at fancy-dress balls, the opera, and other social events. He marries beautiful but seemingly simple May Welland, played by Winona Ryder, and settles into a life most of us would envy. However, there is just one thing missing from this well-ordered world: passion. That passion comes from Europe one day in the person of the Countess Olenska, a cousin of May's separated from her loveless marriage to an aristocratic husband. There is an immediate attraction between Archer and Olenska, and as he and May seek to redeem her place in society, the two childhood friends begin an affair that, given the time and place and their stations in life, is doomed to fail. Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer are fabulous as the lovers, seeking to keep their encounters hidden from the rest of society. They are really soul-mates more than lovers, Olenska bringing to Archer's life the joire de vive that the always-prim and proper May can never give him. Winona Ryder is an absolute revelation as May. Everytime she comes on screen, the viewer is left to wonder: how much does she know and when does she find out? This high drama unfolds before one of the most sumptuous settings ever captured on film; the art and set decorators reportedly used period paintings to ensure the right look. Scorsese allows the story to unfold at a natural pace, just like reading a relaxing novel, except few novels contain a passion so tightly restrained that the characters are in eminent danger of making their entire world collapse for want of relief. There are plenty of delicious supporting characters as well; Mary Beth Hurt and Stuart Wilson as the Beauforts, another couple who broke this society's taboos and find themselves covered in shame; Michael Gough and Alexis Smith as the van der Luydens, the most influential family in New York, who do not fail to come to the Countess' aid in her time of need; and, best of all, Miriam Margolyes as society doyenne Mrs. Manson Mingott, providing much needed comic relief with her grand, imperious manner and her passel of pooches. Joanne Woodward makes a wonderful narrator to this intriguing world as the action unfolds at a stately pace through time and space (stately, but never boring!), finally climaxing in a Paris street scene that is incredibly moving in it's heartbreaking simplicity. So, if you want a fast-paced action thriller with plenty of explosions, go elsewhere. However, if carefully-paced, unrequited passion is your game, then get The Age of Innocence today. This movie just might leave a few scars on your heart!...more info
  • Ravishing
    Martin Scorsese directing a Merchant-Ivory film might superficially describe "The Age of Innocence," but it would do an injustice to both parties. This is a Marty movie through and through -- beautifully filmed, expertly acted, and thematically obsessed with guilt, passion, and moral failings.

    In adapting Edith Wharton's classic novel of forbidden love in a repressive society, Scorsese has an anthropologist's obsessive eye for cultural detail -- the cutlery, the dainty dishes, the linen, the clothes. And of course the social rituals -- the after-dinner brandy & cigar, opera-going audience gazing, and the handwritten notes attached to bouquets of flowers. The attention to surface texture in the film has a transporting effect; it is one of the best period pieces ever made.

    Time-traveling to an unfamiliar milieu freed Scorsese's aesthetic instincts. "The Age of Innocence" is hardly a polite study of quaint social customs; it is a passionate, adventurous film, dripping with color and breathtaking compositions. Scorsese revels in the texture of the world he and his collaborators have painstakingly recreated, a world where passions are lidded but bubble over in the form of colorful flower bouquets and passionate opera arias. This film belongs on a shortlist of the most physically ravishing films ever made (and not just because of Michelle Pfeiffer), but because Scorsese cuts loose with his painterly style of image-making.

    Though a PG-rated period piece might seem like a departure for Scorsese, he observed that "This film deals with the same matters that can be found in my work in the last 25 years. There is guilt, desire, obsessed passion and the weakness to satisfy that passion." Notice how he describes the desire to satisfy passion as a "weakness." Where most directors would romanticize the love affair between Newland and the Countess, Scorsese sees it as doomed from the start, and he is careful not to make either character (especially Newland) too sympathetic. Newland has eaten of the fruit of passion, and the fact that Scorsese does not (necessarily) valorize his passion makes the film that much more interesting. Newland's choice was between duty and passion, honor and real love. A less astute, less interesting filmmaker than Scorsese would have made the choice a no-brainer, damn the consequences. For most modern storytellers, passion is paramount. Passion is freedom. For Scorsese, passion has a dark side. Although he recognizes the hypocrisy and barely-concealed vindictiveness of aristocratic society, there remains something recognizably Old World about his sensibilities....more info
  • Potentially interesting story...but why can't anyone act??
    The set design and costumes were lovely, but the actors were just horrible. Daniel Day-Lewis is usually outstanding but even he can't bring life to this role. Of course, you can't blame him for not loving the always annoying Wynonna Ryder...but how could he choose the histrionic and insipid Michelle Pfeiffer, who doesn't begin to do justice to Countess Olenska? Her red eyes and her heaving bosom have gotten tiresome (here as in Dangerous Liasons)...Not to mention the narration...thanks Joanne...you're the best...but why not just do the audio instead of this annoying voice over....more info
  • Beautiful
    Martin Scorsese has made a masterpiece here. His long shots coupled with the exquisite costumes and glorious scenes are breathtaking. Ryder gives a shockingly incredible performance. Pfieffer follows suit, as I had this inner plea for her to win all that she sought.

    The supporting cast (including bit players) were also perfectly placed and helped create this piece into "Master".

    This film is truly a feast for the eyes, creating a visual world that perfectly reveals the society in which it is set. More importantly, the screenplay draws us into a world where emotion and its expression are defined by the rules of class. Subtlety and depth are keywords for the story in this film, and the actors compliment the presentation by giving well rounded, natural, and believable performances. Oscar Nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Music Score and Best Apated Screenplay. Oscar Winner for Best Costumes. Fans of Martin Scorsese might love this and others think this is Scorsese`s Oddest Film....more info

  • Age of Innocence
    Silly "period" movie. Bought it because RSL is in it.
    Service from vendor was quick and competent....more info
  • a gilded age covered up an empty era; a gilded film covers up an empty movie
    god bless martin scorsese for giving it a shot, but short of the exquisite look of the movie, nothing else works. one is prepared for an immature performance from winona ryder (could she give any other type?) but when the likes of michelle pfeiffer and even daniel day lewis [!] appear stilted, something is just plain wrong. i get the impression that scorsese made this movie anticipating it would gain him respect; instead its just one of those occasional blips in his grand career.
    ...more info
  • A Flim That Will Touch Your Heart
    An absolutely beautiful movie............a Scorsese masterpiece in every detail. Ranks with Wuthering Heights in its depiction of unrequited love, but much more visually stunning. Daniel Day-Lewis is a truly outstanding actor. After my first viewing, this is one of my favorite all-time movies.
    ...more info
  • Wonderful piece of period Cinema
    For artist, designers, or just the hopeless romantic, this video is a must, to add to your collection. The attention to period detail is inspiring. The storyline riviting. Worth the investment -- a version of Edith Wharton at her best. ...more info
  • There aren't enough stars for the most powerful film I've ever seen
    I firmly believe that this is the greatest film ever made; it is surely the greatest I have ever seen, and over several decades I've seen many. It's one of the most powerful works of art I've experienced in any form.

    I can still recall vividly the first time that I saw it. It was at a matinee viewing at a theater in downtown Philadelphia. The audience was me, my then-wife, and about a gazillion sweet little old ladies, median age of about 73. The audience observed stone silence throughout the showing; not a whisper, not a popcorn-rustle. I (and I suspect several other people) left the theater with new appreciation of the emotional power of film.

    What makes this film so uniquely powerful is that it so perfectly depicts that most powerful of emotions: love. I tend to be an impatient critic of most romantic films, which I find manipulative and unbelievable. I can't believe in a film romance simply because violins well up when two attractive people look at each other. But this film, unlike any other I know of, vividly documents the experience of falling in love: the way that the mind seizes upon the words and the gestures of one woman alone, finding something unique, intriguing, soul-piercing in them, and filtering out everyone else.

    The basic story is that of Newland Archer (Daniel Day Lewis), a young pillar of upper-crust 1870s New York society. He has a non-conformist's mind, but is outwardly respectful of the culture in which he lives. About the time that he becomes engaged to May (Wynona Ryder), there arrives in his world the Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer.) The Countess is fleeing a marriage and maltreatment from Count Olenski, from whom she wants that then-scandalous thing: divorce. The Countess herself is the subject of rumors of improprieties with her husband's secretary.

    Thus, as Newland and the Countess find something unique in one another and fall in love, it presents Newland with an agonizing dilemma: is there any honorable way to be with the potential love of his life, given his engagement to May, and Olenska's marriage to the Count? But it would be a crime against art to spoil that mystery for you, so enough said.

    One remarkable aspect of this film is that the characters' society not only constrains the conduct of everyone involved, but also the expressions of their feelings. Daniel Day Lewis in particular carries a burden of conveying the most powerful emotions without being able to voice them. He does this in one of the most magnificent performances ever on film, often acting wordlessly through means as subtle as trembling fingers or a clenched jaw.

    You are shown quite clearly how he falls in love with the Countess. She gives voice to the irreverent thoughts that never occur to May, and which Newland feels but would never speak. The looks of shocked amusement on Daniel Day Lewis's face in many of these early conversations are a vital part of the gradual, but irresistible, warming of their early relationship.

    What unfolds is a story of love, and heartbreak, of choices made, of responsibilities met, and of opportunities missed and gone forever. It's a tale that will affect anyone who ever wonders about the path not taken in their own life. And it's also a tale of the clash between societal norms and individual desires, especially limiting the options of an unlucky woman.

    Upon first viewing, the visual genius of the film is very striking. Stills of the film rival the great paintings of art history (and in at least one instance, nearly parodying a famous Seurat.) There's tremendous visual splendor and opulence.

    I found that on repeat viewings, however, I was equally amazed by the film's dynamic qualities - the way that one scene draws you into the next, often with the beautiful orchestral score as an ineluctable link between scenes. The sequence in which the yellow roses are ordered and delivered is a gorgeous montage of a few seconds, driven by the backing music.

    Oh, and that music - Elmer Bernstein composed one of the most emotive scores ever for a film, and several of the scenes draw their power from it. Though the score is very reminiscent of the third movement of the Brahms third symphony, it may actually exceed the Brahms in several places for emotional power.

    It's a film that one watches and repeatedly has the feeling, "This is one of the great scenes in all of film." But those fantastic scenes just keep coming, one after the other. I have particular favorites: the scene where the Countess whispers to Newland in the opera box, the scene where he approaches her as she looks out at the lighthouse, and of course, the incredibly moving final scene.

    I don't know what else to say about the final scene other than that watching it for the first time was a more powerful experience than I'd had at the cinema at any time prior.

    Strangely, this is one of the lesser-known Scorsese films. I'm a great fan of Scorsese's other works, but he certainly never made a gangster film as great as this. I suspect that this one just didn't find its natural audience. Perhaps people expected it to be a lighter romantic costume drama. Instead it is an intense story of romantic agony, told from the viewpoint of a conflicted male. Perhaps it reflects that male perspective too much to be a chick flick, whereas not enough men were interested in watching this story. Perhaps it was just too subtle. Whatever the cause, the lack of appreciation is unfortunate, because it's a story that should have great power for everyone who has ever been deeply and truly in love, especially if that love might slip away forever.

    I saw this film repeatedly after it was first released, but several years had passed before I saw it again this past weekend with my wife. It's like Daniel Day Lewis says to Michelle Pfeiffer late in the film: "Every time I see you, you happen to me all over again." And so it is with this masterpiece.
    ...more info
  • The Age of Innocence
    I thought this movie was good. Reminded me of Martin new movie Gangs of NEw York with Leo. But that was in my opinion since he used the same backdrop which is almost for all his movies. I wonder how he would for something else not in NEw York. THe respention of social pressure or society was right on. The society was reflect though visuals that were stunning. THe riches and grandiose style. it was a good movie better if Ellen and Newland gave into their passion but the sexual tension is what drove the film....more info
  • Fails to engage
    Tried to care about this elegant saga, but despite all the fetching details and careful crafting, it all feels rather pointless. Michelle Pfeiffer turns in a radiant performance trying to get out from under these overstuffed rooms and overwrought sensibilities, but can't quite manage it.

    The stumbling point, in my view, Daniel Day-Lewis here plainly just doesn't cut it as a leading man. His emasculated, simpering deadpan, dispensing dialogue medicinally as so much cough syrup, completely fails to engage as a romantic figure. The notion of Michelle's ravishing, vivacious character head over heels for him is more than a stretch. I've seen gunfighters with more chemistry than these two. Their first intimate scene, eek! Comes off like an accident in a crowded bus. This mis-casting is quite annoying, as this movie appears in many ways to have had real promise.

    Wynona Ryder does well enough as the porcelain, sidelined fiance, but what does it matter, the whole thing fails on the glaring mismatch of the two leads....more info
  • ON MY TOP FIVE LIST OF MY FAVORITE FILMS
    I did my senior research paper on the original Edith Wharton novel, and the film is so faithful to her original language and vision that I was nearly knocked backward by the brilliance of this ravishingly intoxicating film. All of the symbolism of the novel is here, including the colors and flowers associated with May and Ellen respectively. Whenever I read the novel, I always see Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day Lewis as the ill-fated lovers in my mind, and I very much wish that Michelle Pfeiffer had been been honored with the Oscar for Best Actress for what is very much her finest performance to date. Besides Pfeiffer and Lewis, the rest of the cast is spell-bindingly brilliant, without a weak link in sight. All in all, this is the most faithful adaptation of a novel ever put on film, and the most visually breathtaking with what is one of the best scores ever composed for a film. The costumes in themselves are works of art, and the Academy Award for Best Costume Design was thoroughly deserved. I thoroughly believe that if it hadn't been released the same year as Schindler's List, it would have won Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress hands down. I just wish more people knew about this masterwork from one of the most brilliant directors still left in Hollywood. Wharton, had she been present, would have applauded the film version of her brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning novel enthusiastically. ...more info
  • nicely history teller
    I love this film, i saw it right after dangerous liasions, and even though everybody used to talk about DL, i think this one is much better....more info
  • Scorcese's Ignored Masterpiece
    I actually saw this movie when it was released in 1993, and honestly it was pretty dull then. Of course I was 22, and the workings of that late-1800's New York society really didn't make much sense or have much relevance.

    I think the film may have been ignored at its release because of the slew of other "period pieces" which were so popular (an eventually common) in the late 80's/early 90's... But watching it again 10 years later, this film is anything but common.

    The true intensity is Scorcese's detached presentation of a hypocritical & hateful society which holds its members as prisoners.

    Not to mention impeccable art direction & beautiful cinematography by the legendary Michael Ballhaus. The film looks as impressionistic as the paintings that line the walls of the characters' homes.

    Scorsese is always acute in his casting decisions, and this is one of the films many virtues:

    Lewis is perfect as a man who's struggle between his passion & his duty are constantly on the verge of devouring him (yet somehow he thrives on his torture).

    Ryder is the seemingly innocent & naive girl who is completely manipulative & cunning underneath her exterior (gee, who would have thought?!) -- notice the arching scene.

    In a sense, this was one of Pfeiffer's defining roles. Pfeiffer herself (in a sense) is an "outcast" who has never truly been accepted as a "serious" actress by her peers in the acting community. Watching this film again, it amazes me how this role somehow reflects her personal position in the current social structure of Hollywood, similar to her character existing in 1800's New York society.

    Wow...

    What an amazing pic. I completely "missed it" the first time around. Great observance of "high society." Many of those codes are strangely applicable today.

    Not recommended for those who like fast paced movies, or those who are looking for the "usual Scorcese." I would couple this with "Last Temptation of Christ" as Scorsese's most brave, artistic, demanding & abstract films to date....more info

  • Movie for 15 and over
    One of the most beautiful love stories I have ever seen in a movie. It is most beautifully portrayed and ends the way you hope all love stories would end. ...more info
  • A remembered film.
    In THE AGE OF INNOCENCE where monogamy is highly regarded in upscale society, divorce is needless to say an intolerable embarassing resort to broken marriage. But there are few who dared to determine it and make their own destiny, thus a story of love revolution or so called betrayal is told.

    This is an immensely sentimental film casting some of the best character-portraying screen performers at that time. The younger Daniel Day-Lewis with masculine jaw lines and features is the clear choice for the perfectly chivalrous yet fragile aristocrat gentleman Newland Archer. His instant choice of wife, the forever decently sweet and optimistic May Welland is played by no one else but the well known innocent ageless princess-like Winona Ryder. While May's bold, flirtatious cousin Countess Olenska is forbidden siren Michelle Pfeiffer, blonde with every curl desirable.

    Pay attention to many details of the beautiful 19th century New York backdrop setting to the very end of the film. And the stunning head titles design, a slowly racing work of blossoming roses....more info

  • The Age of Innocence DVD
    Take yourself to a time in New York City of the past, and understand how much society has changed from that time when encouraging and strengthening people to do the right thing--- even though tempted to do otherwise---was the norm. Experience the pain of belonging to someone else when the "right one" comes along. Appreciate Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder in their excellent performances, and the exquisite recreation of the time period. It's a chick flick, but a good one!...more info
  • A gilded social prison and a frustrated romance analyzed.
    This is about a romance that is never consummated. In fact, it is about a romance that smolders but never burns. It is about a potential love affair that is totally undone by New York's upper society before it can really begin. It is the story of two female cousins, young innocent May Welland (played by wide-eyed fresh-faced Winona Ryder) and sophisticated beautiful Countess Ellen Olenska (played with the sadness required by Michelle Pfeiffer). Between these two women is the young attorney, Newland Archer, a man who thinks of himself as bright and sophisticated but finds himself out-maneuvered by the social forces in which he lives. Daniel Day-Lewis plays this role well, arrogant and yet compassionate, intelligent and yet vulnerable to forces beyond his control.

    The film could be described as ravishing with the incredible beauty of the interiors of New York's wealthiest citizens, the amazing dresses and jewels worn by the women in the 1870s, the vast gardens and flowers, and the rare feasts of culinary delights. However, the romance is anything but ravishing. It is a painful protracted long suffering ordeal that has such amazing acts of intimacy as Archer kissing the slipper of Countess Olenska in one scene and taking off her glove in a carriage so that he might kiss her wrist in another scene. Oh my! Such scandal! By our current morals and standards of sexual behavior, this unconsummated romance is frustrating to the extreme.

    Martin Scorsese, the director, paints a world of vast luxery and beauty in the society yet under the veneer, it is a highly controlled and monitored group. Interestingly enough it is both the men and the women in this society who work to maintain strict social norms and create tight borders around who is and is not in their society. Almost all the characters, including May's mother (played by Geraldine Chaplin) and Newland's mother (played by Sian Phillips - that wonderful actress who plays Empress Livia in the I, Claudius series), help maintain this tight controlled social world of manners and morals, that can become a prison for those who may wish to break the rules.

    The crux of the film is that a young man, engaged to marry the right girl for him, a beautiful rich socialite, becomes more and more interested in her worldly sophisticated experienced cousin. He acts with extreme kindness which wins the heart of Countess Olenska, but to hurt those around him to follow a romance with the Countess would lower him in her eyes and she resists the romance, in major part because of the consequences to her younger cousin and to Newland. He is also a character pulled apart by the restrictions of society and his desires for Ellen. As they inch closer to beginning an affair, society comes to the rescue and divides them forever. It is the strategic moves of his wife, May, that really close the deal for she manipulates both Newland and Ellen to back away from each other with her carefully played role of the potential innocent victim. As narrator Joanne Woodward relates, all New York Society rallys and supports May and works to retain the marriage while separating Ellen and Newland. After she leaves for Paris he never sees her again.

    What do modern audiences make of such a situation as created by Edith Wharton in the 1920's? It all boils down to whether your choices in life are dictated primarily by your own moral compass or by the moral compass of society. There are costs to each. Gay men have selected to marry women due to the pressure of our culture and society for years. We know the price of society's norms. And yet, we know that those who follow only their own moral compass can create great pain and chaos in the lives of those around them as well as for themselves. Newland Archer chooses to live in a gilded cage, to seek happiness from family life, but to always feel somewhat cheated that his one true sexual passionate love never became a reality.

    ...more info
  • ON MY TOP FIVE LIST OF MY FAVORITE FILMS
    I did my senior research paper on the original Edith Wharton novel, and the film is so faithful to her original language and vision that I was nearly knocked backward by the brilliance of this ravishingly intoxicating film. All of the symbolism of the novel is here, including the colors and flowers associated with May and Ellen respectively. Whenever I read the novel, I always see Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day Lewis as the ill-fated lovers in my mind, and I very much wish that Michelle Pfeiffer had been been honored with the Oscar for Best Actress for what is very much her finest performance to date. Besides Pfeiffer and Lewis, the rest of the cast is spell-bindingly brilliant, without a weak link in sight. All in all, this is the most faithful adaptation of a novel ever put on film, and the most visually breathtaking with what is one of the best scores ever composed for a film. The costumes in themselves are works of art, and the Academy Award for Best Costume Design was thoroughly deserved. I thoroughly believe that if it hadn't been released the same year as Schindler's List, it would have won Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress hands down. I just wish more people knew about this masterwork from one of the most brilliant directors still left in Hollywood. Wharton, had she been present, would have applauded the film version of her brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning novel enthusiastically. ...more info
  • Scorsese's beautifully filmed AGE OF INNOCENCE
    We often forget that long before THE DEPARTED,THE AVIATOR and GANGS OF NEW YORK, director Martin Scorsese and the same crew made a sumptuous and beautifully intoxicating THE AGE OF INNOCENCE in 1993.This film is so intricate with each little detail that to revisit it from time to time is to savour,marvel and appreciate a true work of art of the highest degree.The story,set in the 1870's about the cutthroat world of New York High Society is not just another period piece costume drama; but rather a look into the makings and trappings of the wealthy elite.As a huge fan of Scorsese's films, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE is arguably his most passionate film.WARNING: no one gets killed and there are no guns!...but as Scorsese loves to film about his favorite subject, his beloved New York City, here he draws inspiration from the Edith Wharton novel in order to illustrate the "other side of the coin" to the ultra-violent THE GANGS OF NEW YORK. These two films together capture a good look at Scorsese's enigmatic city.

    Apart from the repressed love,suppressed sexuality,convention and ridicule that is at the heart of this story (which may bore some to tears), THE AGE OF INNOCENCE is filled with the outstanding cinematography of Michael Ballhaus (THE DEPARTED, GANGS OF NEW YORK,GOODFELLAS,LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST); production design by Dante Ferretti (THE AVIATOR,KUNDUN,TITUS and the upcoming SWEENEY TODD); a soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein (FAR FROM HEAVEN,WILD,WILD WEST,TRADING PLACES); and an Oscar win for costumes by Gabriella Pescucci (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY,ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA,INDOCHINE): and finally, above all, the amazing editing of Thelma Schoonmaker (back to back Oscars for THE AVIATOR and THE DEPARTED).These reasons alone make this film SO worth while from standpoints other than screenplay.

    For acting, the British character actress,Miriam Margolyes, won the BAFTA Award for best actress in the role of Mrs. Mingott.Ms.Margolyes was featured in such films as LADIES IN LAVENDER,MODIGLIANI,BEING BEING JULIA,IMMORTAL BELOVED,REDS and YENTL. This is a woman with a long and distinguished career who you see everywhere,recognize her unmistakable face and bulk, but never know her name.

    For people that enjoy production values of a film, this nine time Oscar nominated film is on my TOP FIVE list.The fact that the 100% of those involved in this film all eventually won Oscars for other works shows that this is a film designed by an immensely talented crew.
    For me, this is Martin Scorsese's PERFECT 10 above his long line of 9.9's.....and no guns...go figure! watch it! Unfortunately there are no DVD extras.That will probably come in a later release....more info
  • Can this be Scorsese?...meticulous, richly detailed adaptation...
    THE AGE OF INNOCENCE seems more like a product of the Merchant-Ivory team rather than Martin Scorsese who recently gave us THE GANGS OF NEW YORK. It's a meticulous, richly detailed, leisurely adaptation of an Edith Wharton novel about a thwarted love affair between a man who is engaged to a beautiful young girl (Winona Ryder) and his yearning for her more worldly cousin (Michelle Pfeiffer). It's a yen that can't be dismissed lightly--in fact, it's a love that haunts him all of his life as he pretends to be a loyal husband with nothing more on his mind than fitting in with upper-class New York society.

    He reaches the end of the story, imprisoned by society and never able to spend time with the woman he really loves. Slow pacing hurts the narrative (as does the use of a narration by Joanne Woodward which is offsetting more than anything else). A more genteel narrator would have suited the voiceover for this one.

    As the troubled hero, Daniel Day-Lewis is the focal point of the entire story and gives an admirable performance, particularly touching in the final scene with his son. Ryder does fairly well with a less complex role but never seems much more than a naive and rather shallow young woman until a revelation about her that comes toward the finale. Michelle Pfeiffer is striking but never seems to fit comfortably into the period scene--she seems too modern even though she's playing an independent soul here.

    Surprising to see Alexis Smith in such a small supporting role, looking a bit frail in what must have been one of her last appearances. As for director Scorsese, this is a far cry from his gangster element but he does a superb job of recreating an age of elegance and manners among the idle rich in the New York society of the 1870s.



    ...more info
  • Manners, Morals, Modesty, Mores---& Misery.
    Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Edith Wharton's exquisite tragedy of manners "The Age of Innocence" is a lush, meticulously staged, heartbreakingly gorgeous but hideously painful experience to watch: it is a tale of two young people, lured away from societal restraint and social decency by Passion, ensaring themselves in a Death Trap, one that will claim their lives, reputations, and souls.

    Watching "The Age of Innocence" is like watching some glorious rare bird, entrapped in a gilded, gem-studded cage, fight its way to freedom---even though the bars of the cage bristle with diamond shards and daggers. We know the bird is doomed; we know the wages of Passion is Death. We watch anyway, transfixed.

    Published in the 1920's, Edith Wharton's "Age of Innocence" was a scrupulous study of a society that had already been obliterated by a rapidly changing, far less 'innocent' continental Republic. In the novel and the movie, we are ensconced in unspoken yet binding social contrivances of New York of the 1870's, and quickly introduced to a bizarre menage a trois of striking characters: Newland Archer (played to the nuanced, agonized hilt by Daniel Day Lewis), a young and bold attorney, comfortably settled in New York society yet not a leading light; May Welland (played all sweetness and light---and cunning---by an effective Winona Ryder), born into a solid family, a blithe spirit projecting innocence, and Newland's fiancee; and the Countess Ellen Olenska (played by Michelle Pfeifer, in a role tailor-made for her), May's cousin, a New Yorker ensnared in a marriage of convenience to a disreputable European count of dissolute habits and degenerate nature.

    Archer, initially suspicious and disapproving of the unconvential and slightly disreputable Countess Olenska, succumbs quickly to her charms and is smitten; passion unfolds; disaster, precictably, follows.

    This intricately crafted, meticulously guilded Age of Innocence is made innocent, of course, by its merciless social strictures, its severe, sere social codes. Scorsese introduces us to this beautiful, fragile, wickedly punishing bell jar of social mores and etiquette, delves deep into its evanescent detail, its galleries of paintings and tapestries, its sitting rooms of studied gentlemen cutting and lighthing their cigars, its panoply of dinner plates and intricately crafted repasts.

    "The Age of Innocence" follows the excruciatingly painful, totally surreptious battle waged between Olenska and her would-be lover Newland Archer versus Decent Society. Scorsese has a deft, steady hand here: the visions of 1870's New York high society are so clear, so rich, so lush, so vibrant that they bring tears to your eyes; kudos should go to Scorcese's faithful German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus ("Goodfellas", "Gangs of New York"), who also produced the riveting lushness of Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula"---small wonder "Age of Innocence" resembles 'Dracula' in atmosphere, richness, and ambience.

    But whereas Coppola's bloodsuckers drank the blood of their unwitting prey, Scorsese's vampires feast on the reputation and integrity of their fallen victims. This is a meticulously balanced society in which social regard and worth is measured in thank-you notes and milliseconds; it is an artificial construct, perfectly presented by Scorsese, which is as unbearably, unworkably fragile as it is judgmental.

    The acting here is uniformly solid: Daniel Day-Lewis is note-perfect as the conflicted Archer, Pfeifer woefully diplomatic as the frustrated Olenska, Ryder confident in her role as a latter-day Machiavelli on the Hudson, all smiles and naive charm. Backing up the leads is a veritable host of veteran actors, including Richard Grant as the sneering Larry Lefferts, Miriam Margolyes as a shrewd but effusive Mrs. Mingott, the impeccable Stuart Wilson as the mustachio-twirling "villain" Julius Beaufort (an engine of destruction for this 'age of innocence'), and a besieged Mary Beth Hurt as Beaufort's long-suffering wife.

    As painful as first love, as acute as the death of a beloved friend, "The Age of Innocence" is a breathtaking, living, breathing work of art. But the casual viewer, unarmed for its force, should beware: here be Dragons....more info

  • Gorgeous flawed film
    With stunning period costumes, lavish interiors and lush outdoor scenes Scorsese's THE AGE OF INNOCENCE has to be one of the most beautiful movies ever filmed. The movie stays remarkably faithful to Edith Wharton's 1920 novel in part because Joanne Woodward provides convincing voice over narration often using Wharton's exact words. The narration also clues the viewers in to the customs and hypocrisies of old New York which play such an important part in the plot. The major flaw in the film is the grand love between "The Countess" Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) seemed unconvincing to this viewer. Although Pfeiffer is very beautiful in the film she does not seem particularly intelligent, free thinking or independent which are the qualities that supposedly attract Day-Lewis's character. Day-Lewis is adequate in his part though I really could not see him as the great love of Pfeiffer's Ellen's life either. It is Winona Ryder as the sweet seeming but astute and determined May who really takes the acting prize. The rest of the film is very well cast and this is an excellent film for those who love historical dramas and faithful film adaptations of great books. ...more info