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Drama - Romantic

The Age of Innocence (1993)


Duration 2h 19m Rating (UK) U
Source of story A novel of the same name by Edith Wharton, written in 1920.
Director Martin Scorsese
Writers/Script Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Richard E. Grant, Alec McCowen, Miriam Margolyes, Siân Phillips, Michael Gough, Jonathan Pryce, Claire Bloom

Elevator Pitch: In the New York high society of 1870 young lawyer Newland Archer is due to marry the virginal May Welland, when her cousin the countess Olenska arrives on the scene with a wiff of scandal after things had turned out badly for her in Europe. Newland falls for her, but the conventions of the time seem force him towards marriage to May, and every time the potential lovers try to take a step together they are frustrated.

Content: There is no sex or nudity, although Newland unbuttons one of the countess’s gloves in a sexy way once. People smoke and drink a bit. We flit from one set piece to another, every one set up meticulously in terms of the dresses, and furnishing and the layouts of the dining tables. There is a lot of narration, probably intended to be the voice of the author of the book. Towards the end we move forward 25 years.

A View: Predictably the critics loved this and it is almost certainly a masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it, and not many people did. It probably failed to cover its costs. I do not like films with a lot of narration in them, because there must have been a failing in the screenplay somewhere for this to be required. It won a Oscar for the costumes, but I felt that there was something wrong with Daniel Day-Lewis’s bow tie. I had plenty of time to notice, and this is one of the problems. So in my view maybe a watch for nothing while doing something else – you have read my review.

Additional Info: I also noticed several Turners hanging from the walls of the various residences. Apparently the director spent $200,000 having them painted.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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