23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful portrayal of emotion and love caught in a triangle
A rarity, in that the film is better than the novel! Based on the novel of the same name by Edith Wharton, Scorsese keeps strictly to the text by good use of narration. The cinematography and direction are excellent. The opening titles with the rose unfolding are beautiful, and the ball-room scene is well handled.
Day-Lewis, Pfeiffer and Ryder all give exceptional...
Published on 26 Mar 2002 by firstname.lastname@example.org
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The proof Martin Scorcese is a genius
From the director of "Goodfellas", "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull" and "Casino" comes... A costume drama. A period piece. And Scorcese, which has given us fantastic depictions of gangsters, deranged individuals, brutality without end, now presents us to a simpler time, a gentler society... An Age of Innocence. Yet an Age where...
Published on 29 Aug 2002 by ferreira67
Most Helpful First | Newest First
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful portrayal of emotion and love caught in a triangle,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [VHS] (VHS Tape)A rarity, in that the film is better than the novel! Based on the novel of the same name by Edith Wharton, Scorsese keeps strictly to the text by good use of narration. The cinematography and direction are excellent. The opening titles with the rose unfolding are beautiful, and the ball-room scene is well handled.
Day-Lewis, Pfeiffer and Ryder all give exceptional performances which just catch you up in the story. Even though there is actually very little action, the story, direction and acting all combine to carry you along, and break your heart together with the characters.
One of my all time favourite films, which I would recommend as a must see!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)Martin Scorsese directs Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder in a good adaptation of Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. A romance about three New Yorkers caught in a tragic love triangle, this is a well produced film that keeps your attention throughout. I recently saw this again having watched it many years ago and I can say that without doubt this has stood the test of time well.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine film-making,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)My best memory of Age of Innocence is because I saw it in Hong Kong in 1994, complete with Cantonese subtitles! What the Chinese made of 19th Century American society I don't know, but this drama of manners displays the gentler, subtler side of Scorsese's virtuoso film-making talent - none too evident in his more explosive and passionate films, but none the worse for that.
He uses a full palette to create light and shade without the sin of being clumsy or heavy-handed in any way. In fact, the director keeps a light touch throughout, greatly to his credit.
The underlying tensions within this moral tale are heavily contained and masked by the mores and culture of respectable society. not difficult to see why actors of a certain ilk love period drama, when they can use a full breadth of emotional techniques, with and without dialogue. Day Lewis, Pfeiffer and Ryder enjoy themselves to good effect, and the story is told competently throughout.
Not the most exciting film you'll ever see, but worthy of appreciation, particularly as a competitively-priced DVD.
47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Loneliness and the Strictures of Society.,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)Imagine living in a world where life is governed by intricate rituals; a world "balanced so precariously that its harmony [can] be shattered by a whisper" (Wharton); a world ruled by self-declared experts on form, propriety and family history - read: scandal -; where everything is labeled and yet, people are not; where in order not to disturb society's smooth surface nothing is ever expressed or even thought of directly, and where communication occurs almost exclusively by way of symbols, which are unknown to the outsider and, like any secret code, by their very encryption guarantee his or her permanent exclusion.
Such, in faithful imitation of Victorian England, was the society of late 19th century upper class New York. Into this society returns, after having grown up and lived all her adult life in Europe, American-born Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), after leaving a cruel and uncaring husband. She already causes scandal by the mere manner of her return; but not knowing the secret rituals of the society she has entered, she quickly brings herself further into disrepute by receiving an unmarried man, by being seen in the company of a man only tolerated by virtue of his financial success and his marriage to the daughter of one of this society's most respected families, by arriving late to a dinner in which she has expressly been included to rectify a prior general snub, by leaving a drawing room conversation to instead join a gentleman sitting by himself - and worst of all, by openly contemplating divorce, which will most certainly open up a whole Pandora's box of "oddities" and "unpleasantness": the strongest terms ever used to express moral disapproval in this particular social context. Soon Ellen, who hasn't seen such facades even in her husband's household, finds herself isolated and, wondering whether noone is ever interested in the truth, complains bitterly that "[t]he real loneliness here is living among all these kind people who only ask you to pretend."
Ellen finds a kindred soul in attorney Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), her cousin May Welland's (Winona Ryder's) fiance, who secretly toys with a more liberal stance, while outwardly endorsing the value system of the society he lives in. Newland and Ellen fall in love - although not before he has advised her, on his employer's and May and Ellen's family's mandate, not to pursue her plans of divorce. As a result, Ellen becomes unreachable to him, and he flees into accelerating his wedding plans with May, who before he met Ellen in his eyes stood for everything that was good and noble about their society, whereas now he begins to see her as a shell whose interior he is reluctant to explore for fear of finding merely a kind of serene emptiness there; a woman whose seemingly dull, passive innocence grinds down every bit of roughness he wants to maintain about himself and who, as he realizes even before marrying her, will likely bury him alive under his own future. Then his passion for Ellen is rekindled by a meeting a year and a half after his wedding, and an emotional conflict they could hardly bear when he was not yet married escalates even further. And only when it is too late for all three of them he finds out that his wife had far more insight (and almost ruthless cleverness) than he had ever credited her with.
Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize and the first work of fiction written by a woman to be awarded that distinction, "The Age of Innocence" is one of Edith Wharton's most enduringly popular novels; the crown jewel among her subtly satirical descriptions of New York upper class society. Martin Scorsese reportedly lobbied hard to bring the novel to the screen under his direction; and what at first looks like an odd match for the director of "Goodfellas," "Mean Streets" and "Taxi Driver" turns out to be a masterpiece of understanding of the intricate workings of this world; a visual feast splendidly realized by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and production and costume designers Dante Ferretti and (Oscar-winning) Gabriella Pescucci; reminiscent of a period tableau, where a dinner table's immaculate symmetry expresses society's outwardly perfect facade, a person's character is mirrored in the paintings they own, their house's interior decoration, the way they dress and the flowers they receive, and where, like in the novel, the protagonists' relationships are choreographed to coincide with the pivotal moments of the stage performances they attend, such as Charles Gounod's opera "Faust" and Dion Boucicault's play "The Shaughraun;" a rare feat of psychological insight into the novel's every character, from the three flawlessly portrayed principals (of whom only Winona Ryder won a Golden Globe and a National Board of Review Award, although all three of them would have been equally deserving) to the just as critical supporting roles, played by an all-star cast including Miriam Margolyes, who earned a BAFTA Award for her portrayal of unconventional society matriarch (nay, dowager-empress) Mrs. Manson Mingott, Richard E. Grant ("form" expert Larry Lefferts), Alec McCowen (scandalmonger Sillerton Jackson), Stuart Wilson and Mary Beth Hurt (disreputable financier Julius Beaufort and his wife Regina), Geraldine Chaplin (May's mother), Sian Phillips (Newland's mother), Michael Gough and Alexis Smith (society doyens Henry and Louisa van der Luyden), Robert Sean Leonard (Newland and May's son Ted), Jonathan Pryce (Olenski's secretary Riviere) and Norman Lloyd (Newland's senior law partner Letterblair).
Scorsese's movie is sometimes criticized for its use of a narrator (Joanne Woodward). But Woodward's voiceovers not only capture Wharton's subtly ironic tone to absolute perfection; her narration also provides a gentle frame to a story which could easily become fractured otherwise; or in the alternative, would have to include countless scenes merely to establish a certain atmosphere and social context without significantly advancing the storyline. On the whole, this is an all-around exceptional production, remarkably faithful to the literary original, and absolutely on par with the best of Scorsese's other works.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but stifling,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [VHS] (VHS Tape)A Martin Scorsese film set in New York. Sound familiar? He's covered this territory before, but this time it's the 1870s and there isn't a gun in sight or an obscenity to be heard. Adapted from Edith Wharton's novel of the same name, 'The Age of Innocence' is the director's first costume period drama, telling the story of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his passionate but unrequited love for the divorced Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer). The film is really about the ultra-repressive social codes of the time, and the characters' absolute inability to break them. The costumes and setting are both beautiful, but you end up feeling as frustrated as Newland Archer himself, what with the lack of - for want of a better word - action!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorcese's best film,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)A stuffy young lawyer and socialite approaching his fashionable society wedding finds himself emotionally conflicted when his scandalous cousin returns unexpectedly from a broken marriage in Europe.
Though it may hardly seem it at first glance, Martin Scorcese's faithful adaptation of Edith Wharton's classic study of upper class New Yorkers in the 1870s is actually something of a companion piece to his Gangster epic Goodfella's, made three years earlier.
Like that bloody Mafia saga, this sumptuous film is less interested in plot than in a minute dissection of lifestyle among a particular social group. Scorsese wants to know what they wear, where they live, what they eat, where they go, and above all how the rigid rules and manners of their society determine what they are and how they behave.
The story is a tragi-comic catalogue of missed opportunities as stiffly formal lawyer Daniel Day-Lewis prepares to marry sweet but vacuous Winona Ryder to unanimous social approval. Unexpectedly, he finds himself falling for scandalous second cousin Michelle Pfieffer, who has had the audacity to walk out on her marriage to a philandering European Count.
Warily they begin an emotionally intense yet hesitant affair; Day-Lewis never quite having the courage to turn his back on the conformity that dictates his life and the path that he is expected to follow. Pfeiffer is bolder and more reckless, but financially dependant on New York relatives whose approval she must keep in order to stop them packing her back to the errant but repentant husband.
Long, slow but always engrossing and full of interest, Scorcese displays an almost obsessive eye for period detail and mastery of social observance. These people are virtually prisoners of a largely unspoken yet unshakeable code of behaviour and conduct; the slightest deviation from which can lead to scandal and social alienation. Watching it crush and stifle those who would to defy it - however half-heartedly - is both uncomfortable and at times subtly comic.
Day-Lewis is perfect as the well meaning but faint-hearted lawyer who never quite has the strength to follow his heart, and he gets great support from everyone around him. A special mention should go to Joanne Woodward's narration, which perfectly captures Wharton's dry wit and irony.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In a world of tradition. In an age of innocence. They dared to break the rules.,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)(the film)Martin Scorsese, one of the great directors of our time, directs Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder in a brilliant adaptation of Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. A ravishing romance about three wealthy New Yorkers caught in a tragic love triangle, The Age Of Innocence chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy of high society in the 1880's. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is an upstanding lawyer who secretly longs for a more passionate life. Engaged to the lovely but ordinary socialite May Welland (Winona Ryder), Newland resigns himself to a life of quiet complacency. But when May's unconventional cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) returns to New York amid social and sexual scandal, Newland becomes captivated by her mysterious authority and outstanding beauty. Now he must choose between May and the world he knows, and Ellen and the world he dreams of having. A spellbinding portrait of hidden romance and regret..
What Can I SAY?
Edith Wharton's beautifully written commentary on the arcane and restrictive societal structures of 1870's New York society and the impossible love affair that becomes it's victim is brought to the screen by Martin Scorcese.
As a fascinating depiction of the era it adheres well to the book, showing us a wealthy system of narrow conformity and restriction, where appearances of proprietary
are all and personal desires sublimated to them totally.
Into this develops a love story between Newland Archer, his traditional bride May Welland and the exotic Countess Olenska, whose unconformity stirs Newlands own suppressed rebelliousness. But where will their feelings take them?
It's a visually beautiful film as well, sumptuously shot and filled with detail, and the entire film is an engaging romantic drama.
"The Age of Innocence" is a strong film that dominates because of Scorsese's outstanding direction
", Scorsese tackles something totally different from what he had previously worked on.The incredible subtlety use of images and music The film is a fine accomplishment For a movie about a society of submerged passion and surface calm, "The Age of Innocence" packs an extraordinarily powerful emotional punch .
As for the acting, the entire cast is simply perfect Scorsese's gets Spectacular performances from Daniel Day-Lewis plays Newland Archer with strong conviction and virtue.
Michelle Pfeiffer., What a beautiful woman, what an amazing actress.she fully embrace the period in manner and behaviour and really delivers in this film with excellent performance.and Winona Ryder is equally strong as Newland's fiancee, May, who hides a controlling, manipulative nature behind a veil of sweetness and naivete
The Age Of Innocence is magnificent and a timeless masterpiece and An exquisite film interwoven with intrigue, suspicion, guilt and passion.
and not only that but also a perfect translation of a great novel into great cinema..
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The proof Martin Scorcese is a genius,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)From the director of "Goodfellas", "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull" and "Casino" comes... A costume drama. A period piece. And Scorcese, which has given us fantastic depictions of gangsters, deranged individuals, brutality without end, now presents us to a simpler time, a gentler society... An Age of Innocence. Yet an Age where society's rules are no less stringent than those of the 20th century Mafia. In this masterpiece three actors shine: Day-Lewis excels as Archer, at ease in this restricted world but longing to lead a freer life. Pfeiffer is stunning as the countess Olenska, the character that is an outsider in New York's rigid society, disregard for conventions causes scandal. And Ryder is marvellous as the - seemingly - candid and naive May, whom we come to... Loathe? Pity? Admire? For her single mindedness. Visually stunning, with marvellous use of colour and a superb wardrobe, this is a story that'll challenge and enchant you. How do you recognise a great director? For his versatility. And Scorcese brought us both brutality and beauty.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film!,
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)Possibly the most faithful film adaptation of a book ever! May is supposed to be fair and Ellen dark, but it doesn't matter. Yes, the pacing (as in the book) is rather slow; it's a portrait of old New York society, when events happened slowly and no one rushed. A society built on words and gestures full of unvoiced meanings. Simply more than a 'period piece'. If you read the novel first, you'll get more out of the film...
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD "The Age of Innocence" with Daniel Day-Lewis,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  (DVD)This DVD arrived on time and well packaged. Thoroughly enjoyable viewing as are all movies in which Daniel Day-Lewis appears and a terrific supporting cast.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Age Of Innocence [DVD]  by Martin Scorsese (DVD - 2001)