The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

DVD - 2001
Average Rating:
14
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Story of the manners and morals of New York society in the later 1800's, focusing on a handsome young lawyer who cannot decide between passion and propriety in his women.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Columbia Tristar Home Video, 2001, c1993
ISBN: 0797848942
9780767848947
Branch Call Number: AGE
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (138 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4in

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Janice21383
Mar 17, 2017

A beautiful recreation of a very different time. And you couldn't ask for better performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and even Winona Ryder who is cast in a role that plays to her strengths. And yet...this is a long movie. Very long, considering its lack of story. If it had been made in the classic Hollywood era of the 1930s and 1940s, most probably they would have added some drama and humour, picked up the pace, and known when to end. Or avoided doing it at all. I see there was a 1934 version starring Irene Dunne, but perhaps it is not surprising it is not a well-known film today.

t
TheSandoz
Mar 16, 2017

Because Martin Scorsese made his reputation with movies that were set in the poor neighborhoods of " Mean Streets " and " Taxi Driver " or the violent world of the mob, it was originally baffling to the public that he would attempt Edith Wharton's "The Innocent Age", set in the upper class society of 1870's New York. This surely, should be done by the Merchant-Ivory team, thought some. Others saw it as a stunt, the director trying to show he could do such a movie. Many people expected that Scorsese had overreached himself and awaited a failed film.
Instead, this is a great film and depicts a world where invisible rules bind everyone and violation of those rules could lead to total disaster. These people talk more softly than the people in Goodfellas, have much better taste, and do everything in a circumspect fashion, but cross the rules of society and you would receive a social death virtually as fatal as a more primitive whacking by the mob.

n
NormaBeethoven
Feb 19, 2017

what is catchy about this movie is the details. I was fascinated by the table settings and the furniture ! Daniel , Michelle and Winnona were amazing, however,the massage was not that empowering. repressed love!!! if you want to enjoy the the production, the scenes, the golden area ...ect. then it is recommended, otherwise you would feel disappointed because there is no evolving in the movies's characters ...they just stay as they are from the start to the end.

t
ThomasJWhiting
Aug 07, 2015

Interesting film view into 1870's high crust New York - almost not American, more European.

I enjoyed Daniel Day-Lewis (again) and rather enjoyed Michelle Pfeiffer whom I hadn't seen before (that I can remember).

d2013 Aug 07, 2015

Fantastic movie with some of the best movie actors around. Great production!

a
alpaca85
Dec 07, 2013

The first thought that came to me when I watched The Age of Innocence was that of repression. When portrayed correctly, it can lead to wonderful tension and excitement. When portrayed incorrectly, it can lead to bewilderment and disinterest. This is the first film that I have seen that achieved neither. The tension between the Pfieffer and Day-Lewis is suitably, if not overtly stated. However, it is the tension between Day-Lewis and Ryder that interested me more.
You see, in this film, Daniel Day-Lewis plays a charming lawyer in 1870's New York. He's engaged to the daughter of another family that wields considerable influence in the city. The daughter, played by Winona Ryder, is a pretty young girl, but she's a bit bland. Day-Lewis's life is turned upside down when Ryder's cousin, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, arrives in the city. Day-Lewis is fascinated by her, and finds himself looking at his life through clear eyes for the first time. Will his attempts to break free from his stiff, upper class life reward him with love?
Well, there is no doubt, The Age of Innocence, despite its flaws, is very enjoyable. This is not due mainly to the film itself, but instead to the terrific flair that Martin Scorsese displays as a director here. The suffocating love triangle is brought to life in a very conventional way, by a most unconventional director. I don't think I'd be the first to say that when my thoughts turn to Scorsese, they land more on violence and flair than repressed love stories.
Not to say he wasn't the right choice of course, his filmmaking is sublime. He tones down his approach and creates a very old school style of filmmaking. There are swift camera movements, great colour rich cinematography (which reminded me of those old Powell and Pressburger Technicolour films) and abrupt lighting changes that result in extreme colour saturations and the screen going dark while a bar of light shines solely on a characters eyes, to express their inner torment.
What's so ultimately frustrating is that the material is not only elevated by the director, but also the cast, that you cannot help but wonder what he could have done with better material. Indeed, Daniel Day-Lewis gives a typically amazing performance. He perfectly establishes the character's inner torment while expressing his refined exterior. He is fascinating to watch, and to see him underplay is a rare pleasure. He makes a character that could have easily collapsed under sheer boredom into something entertaining, and wonderfully expressive.
He is also backed up by a good performance by Michelle Pfeiffer, who manages to appear both worldly and childish at the same time. However the character I found most interesting was that of Winona Ryder's. At times she felt like a child, unaware of anything around her, and at times she felt like a master manipulator.
It's not the sets and old fashioned touches that undermine Scorsese; it's that they don't quite come together. Scorsese's vision is great, and at times you can see a hidden, untapped greatness bubbling just below the surface. Unfortunately, it never surfaces.
The Age of Innocence was never going to be Scorsese's greatest film. At the least, it's a great companion piece to Kundun, if one is feeling in the mood for a different kind of Scorsese. At the most, it is a tantalizing what-if. While Scorsese would return to this world with Gangs of New York, but that film was a lot more of a flamboyant piece than this. Its sad Scorsese has never tried anything quite like The Age of Innocence again, because with a little better material, he might just craft a masterpiece.

JanineEBeanie Mar 27, 2013

The ultimate fem-fatal Michele Pfiefer. Leaving a string of broken men in her wake. The story of one of them, brilliantly portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis, and his long suffering wife, playing dumb and in sympathy with both. One of the great love stories of all time by New York socialite writer Edith Wharton. Luxury and manners swirl around. Lovingly shot and styled.

h
Hannah_Emory
Feb 28, 2013

I watched this movie about five times in a week's time. It was brilliant and lovely. Daniel Day-Lewis was spectacular (as always!). Watch it. 'Nuff said :)

klints Dec 22, 2012

I was disappointed with this production.

t
thinlizzee
Jul 08, 2012

Rated "A Masterpiece!" and "A Phenomena!" on the DVD jacket cover, the only thing phenomenal about this drivel is that is was directed by Scorsese and dragged on for 2 hours and 18 minutes. This is the tiring story of three wealthy, spoiled, whining, bored individuals of 1870's New York social elite. Pfeiffer's character whines endlessly to Lewis' character who would do anything to escape his self-imposed misery by his poor marriage choice to Ryder's character, a pious, naive twit.
Well costumed with incredible cinematography the story will drive you to pull out your hair. Thank God this was available at the Library and I didn't have to pay to see it at a theater! 'Should have been titled "The Age of Insolence". Better suited to a different time period.

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