Dir. Martin Scorsese, 1993, United States, 139 min, DCP, color
With Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder
No filmmaker captures the grandeur and energy of New York like Martin Scorsese. With this sumptuous romance, he meticulously adapted the work of another great New York artist, Edith Wharton, bringing to life her tragic novel set in the cloistered world of Gilded Age Manhattan.
The Age of Innocence tells the story of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), whose engagement to an innocent socialite (Winona Ryder) binds him to the codes and rituals of his upbringing. But when her cousin (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives in town on a wave of scandal after separating from her husband, she ignites passions in Newland he never knew existed. Swelling with exquisite period detail, this film is an alternately heartbreaking and satirical look at the brutality of old-world America.
Arnaud Desplechin says about the film “The Age of Innocence is, in my mind, one of the most beautiful films by the masterful Scorsese. Forbidden love, hopeless passion, yearning for freedom that everything appears to stifle. And so, at the end of the film, when an aged Daniel Day Lewis watches a light flicker in a Parisian window, he can murmur to himself like Marion Post (Gena Rowlands) in Another woman: ‘…and I wondered if the memory is something we have or something we have lost.’”
“The film is the work of one of America’s handful of master craftsmen, a director whose decisions command attention and haunt the imagination.” — Vincent Canby, The New York Times