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The Age Of Innocence [DVD] 
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Martin Scorsese, one of the great directors of our time, directs Oscar®-winner Daniel Day-Lewis (1989 Best Actor, My Left Foot), 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 ironically-titled story chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy of high society in the 1870s. At the center of the film is Newland Archer (Day-Lewis), an upstanding attorney who secretly longs for a more passionate life. Engaged to the lovely but ordinary socialite May Welland (Ryder), Newland resigns himself to a life of quiet complacency. But when May’s unconventional cousin returns to New York amid social and sexual scandal, Newland risks everything for a chance at true love. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE is a spellbinding portrait of hidden romance and regret.
Martin Scorsese does not sound like the logical choice to direct The Age of Innocence, an adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about the 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 centre 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), who has 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 film in which the shift of someone's eyes can be as significant as the firing of a gun. The director's sense of colour has never been keener, and his work with the actors is subtle. --Robert Horton, Amazon.comSee all Product description
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It’s always been a film which rewards multiple viewings, simply because Scorcese loads it with such imagery, changes style so often and yet manages to keep control of Wharton’s story (from memory, the film is quite accurate to the book) and the production design, costumes and performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfieffer and Winona Ryder work well, anchoring the audience to the characters and the world they inhabit. The new blu-ray picture quality is very good and more than brings out the rich visuals of the film, from its colour to all the details of set design the film is loaded with.
Like the book, it’s the richness of detail and the ways in which the film can be looked at which give it value, as on one hand when you’ve seen one love triangle film you may feel you’ve seen them all. But that’s not all the film is really about, and so you can watch it and choose what to focus on sometimes.
The extras package is ok. There are interviews newly recorded in 2017 with director Martin Scorcese, writer Jay Cocks, production designer Dante Ferretti and costume designer Gabriella Pescucci, alongside a theatrical trailer and a 1993 HBO making of documentary. There’s also a booklet with an essay on the film. The disc extras run a little under two hours.
The film itself is a stunningly beautiful period drama directed by Martin Scorsese. The cinematography is breathtaking and the musical score is delightful. The voice over narration filling the audience in about the norms and rules of late 19th century NY high society is masterfully done with just the subtlest hint of irony.
However, it is the stellar performances of the cast that make the film what it is. The standout here is Michelle Pfeiffer as the scandalous Countess Olenska. She is drop dead gorgeous and one just wants to cheer her on when she does what's right for her even though it scandalizes the social hypocrites around her. Absolutely wonderful. DDL is perfect as ever, but I found it hard to warm to his character. In fact, at times I wanted to kick him and shake him for not finding the courage to break the rigid rules of society and follow his heart. Which is, I suppose, a compliment to the actor - his is a performance not easily forgotten. Also excellent is Winona Ryder. Hers is not an easy part and she plays it very well, the shift from lovely young innocent to poised and self-aware woman who knows she will have it her way is so subtle you hardly notice it when your sympathies change. The supporting cast is equally excellent. Siân Phillips is perfect as DDL's mother and I absolutely loved Miriam Margolyes who, with a scene stealing performance, provides some welcome moments of what could almost be called very gentle comic relief.
Absolutely gorgeous film. At 2 hous 13 minutes it's rather long and very slow throughout. Perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon or a long quiet night in.
Pfeiffer is brilliant as Ellen Olenska, the woman being ostracized by the upper classes because she leaves her husband who beats her. Her ways of modern thinking are not welcomed by the New York high society, and so she feels trapped and excluded. Her only confidant being Day-Lewis. They soon fall in love. In this film Ryder plays an understated manipulative extremely well. Conniving to hold on to her man. Pfeiffer plays wide eyed innocence effortlessly, always staying a lady. The filming shows off her beautiful and expressive face and there's some lovely directorial work when it comes to how Lewis and Pfeiffer's characters really feel for each other.
I'd recommend this film to fans of Michelle Pfeiffer or Daniel Day-Lewis, and fans of very well made and constructed period love stories. This is also a bit of tear-jerker - so those who like a good cry will also benefit.
Overall, the film is beautiful to watch with it's opulent settings, dresses and homes. The acting is superb, and a lot of it is conveyed through simple glances and gestures. A great movie.
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