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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Age of Innocence (1993) - Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder

The Age of Innocence (released in 1993) was a movie directed by Martin Scorsese, that won one Academy Award (Oscar) and was nominated for a total of 5 awards, but not the top awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor or Actress). Winnona Ryder was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress role, but did not win. The movie eventually won the Oscar for Best Costume Design (Gabriella Pescucci). However, the movie won awards in other places such as the Golden Globe, BAFTA, National Board of Review Award. The movie was based on a novel with the same name, written by Edith Wharton (winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize). The novel is set in the 1870's in New York City, set in the upper class (the distinction of the prize was that this was the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a woman, based on her accurate depiction of the life of the upper class in the 19th century New York).
The name of the novel / movie is ironic, given that while the upper class was all genteel and published on the outside, inside it was all conspiracies and controversy. The movie was filmed in New York, with some portions being shot in Paris and the opera scenes being shot in the Philadelphia Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The movie earned positive reviews from critics.
Like some of his other movies, Marin Scorsese did a cameo role in this movie, as a photographer in a wedding scene.

The movie was dedicated to Martin Scorsese's father (Charles Scorsese, who died before the movie got released); both his mother and father made cameo appearances in the movie. Another surprise about the movie is that the lead actors in the movie were all the first choices of Martin Scorsese.
The movie is a tale of passionate love, never being consummated because of society and its bonds. The story is that of a young rich lawyer, Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), who is eager and happy about his forthcoming marriage with another member of society's elite, May Welland (Winona Ryder). However, his feelings start changing with the emergence on the scene of her cousin, 30 year old sophisticated Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer). She is separated from her husband, who has cut her off, and to the horror of society and her relations, she wants a divorce (you can separate, but a divorce would be a huge scandal). Newland starts feeling a passionate attraction for her, and she for him, but because of the impact this would have on May, she backs off, deciding to keep a distance.
And then Newland finally marries May (he had asked May to get married sooner since he is not sure about his feelings for Ellen and whether they could make him change his mind); but his marriage is soon passionless, and he still longs for Ellen. Ellen finally agrees to have an affair with Newland, and Newland even decides to follow her for Europe, and then May tells him that they are having a baby; and now, because of the child, they again agree to not have an affair. But is this the end of their interactions ?

The Age of Innocence (1993) - Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder

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