The Age of Innocence movie Essay example

705 Words 3 Pages
It's New York City in the 1870s, a society ruled by expectations and propriety, where a hint of immorality can bring scandal and ruin. This is an America every bit as Victorian as her contemporary England. Into this world arrives Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), a woman who has spent much of her life in Europe and is now escaping from a disastrous marriage. Her initial adult meeting with Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is sedate - he is engaged to her cousin May (Winona Ryder) - but there is a subtle fire smouldering from the first glance. From that point on, Archer's dilemma becomes painfully clear - proceed with what society deems proper and marry the rather vapid May, or allow his heart and passions to carry him far from …show more content…
The powerful score moves along with the story, in perfect counterpoint to the visuals - never intrusive, but always effective. The scenes of artfully-prepared meals are enough to make mouths water, and it's almost possible to smell the pungent aroma of cigars. In these elements of the film, Scorsese was ably assisted by contributions from composer Elmer Bernstein and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.

The set design and costumes are flawless, and the audience is legitimately transported to the nineteenth-century (through the help of Troy, NY, where the principal filming was done, and the Philadelphia Academy of Music, which doubled as a New York opera house). This is not some mere token attempt to conjure up images of times past; Scorsese has put so much effort into the illusion that those who didn't know better would be willing to swear that he had discovered a time capsule.

Adapting from the 1921 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Edith Wharton (who also wrote Ethan Frome, a similar story of love and loss, which reached American screens earlier this year), Scorsese and Jay Cocks have successfully incorporated the conflict of emotion against societal pressures which lies at the heart of The Age of Innocence. Those watching the movie will understand that it is no easy task to resurrect a code of behavior long dead and buried.

Daniel Day-Lewis never fails to impress, even when he appears in a poor film. For the most part, however, he has chosen
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