The Age of Innocence can be seen as quite the curveball in Martin Scorsese’s filmography. We continue to see how versatile Scorsese’s directing capabilities and strength in certain genres are. The true talent of Scorsese prevails beyond the genre and even the narrative itself. The real storytelling is within the themes and perspectives of the film. Often we see Scorsese focus on the anti-hero or themes of temptation, a forced lifestyle/community, greed, crime, guilt, etc. Although The Age of Innocence is not the usual bloodbath over drugs or money, many of these themes stay relevant despite the general plot.
Daniel Day-Lewis plays, Newland Archer, a wealthy New York lawyer in the 1870s. Yes, the 1870s—another period piece! Archer is set to marry the sweet and INNOCENT May Welland, played by Winona Ryder. With two simple people in a simple relationship, the couple seems perfect for marriage. This is until May’s cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, arrives on the scene and changes everything for Archer. Archer finds himself more drawn and attracted to Ellen for her unorthodox and seemingly less innocent nature. Soon after, the two engage in a loving affair, unhappy with their previous relationships. An affair, especially during the 1870s—an age of innocence— is extremely taboo and looked down upon, forcing guilt upon Archer and Ellen knowing their relationship may never prosper during this time.
Scorsese taps into these central ideas, forcing to you naturally connect with the characters of the story—a specialty of the director. The Age of Innocence is not the most exciting selection of Scorsese films, and the old-timey era does not add to the thrill of the film. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to finally get fully invested in the film, which later drags on and slows down. This time period is sometimes tough to watch! A late1800s era film is hard without the gun-slinging cowboys and train robberies! The camerawork is spectacular, making the viewing process less painful. However, The Age of Innocence, in the middle of the Scorsese catalog, should only be rewatched for notes on themes and characters.
Story/Plot – 15/20 Direction – 17/20 Acting - 17/20
Cinematography – 17/20 Score/Soundtrack – 15/20
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