THE AGE OF INNOCENCE 1993 139 minutes
For a man who has made his name depicting the gritty underside of New York, it would seem strange that Martin Scorcese would want to adapt Edith Wharton’s novel about polite society in 1870s Manhattan, but beneath the gilded manners of the Victorian Era lurked social instincts as harsh anything found in his gangster films.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Newland Archer, an upstanding attorney engaged to young Winona Ryder and a comfortable, compartmentalized life lies before them, with his creative and intellectual interests discretely kept private. But when Archer encounters his fiancé’s cousin, who is being ostracized for having fled a disastrous marriage to an abusive Polish count, he takes a stand on her behalf. Archer soon finds a kindred spirit in the radiant Countess, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and with each mannered and mindful interaction they are drawn to each other. But passion––let alone divorce––in that period was the stuff of scandal, and the cost of social banishment could be dire, as Scorcese depicts amidst lush imagery and resonant performances.
BE ADVISED–– This film is rated R, with smoking, drinking, glimpses of nudity and otherwise nasty behavior among the Four Hundred.