It’s been a while since I’ve seen a classic, and this one was too good to pass up. The Age of Innocence is a 1993 black-and-white film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, David Thewlis, and Winona Ryder. “Let’s go to New York City and find out what happened to Phoebe when she was eighteen,” says her husband Michael (David Thewlis) to his wife Lisa (Winona Ryder). The film is about Phoebe, a young girl who grew up in New York City and learns the secrets of the past, where her parents met and fell in love, and who died in a car accident. ~~

The Age of Innocence is a 1993 film directed by Martin Brest about a young man on parole who falls in love with an upper-class woman. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman and Michelle Pfeiffer. The story is based on Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence (1911). The film was nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Based on the best-selling novel by Edith Wharton, “The Age of Innocence” is the story of two rich New York City socialites—titled Miss Halverton and her goddaughter Lady Aylmer—who enter an unsuitable marriage of convenience. Though the two women are meant to be in love, their lack of passion for each other leads to a life of poverty and repression for the heroine, while the new husband offers her riches and a happy life. The film, which was based on the David Leavitt play of the same name, stars Harvey Keitel, Annette Bening, and Kevin Kline.

I stumbled upon The Golden Age of Childhood by chance with the express intention of seeing Daniel Day Lewis’s underappreciated performances. Due of its strong directing, this film seems more like a Martin Scorsese film than a Daniel Day Lewis film. The narrative that plays in the background adds to the beauty of the scene. It’s almost as if Edith Wharton, the author of the novel from which the film is based, is telling the story herself.

The film’s success lies in its charming drama, which is bolstered by Daniel and Michelle Pfeiffer’s outstanding performances. It’s as though you could taste the drama in your bones. The unrequited emotional pain that is thrown about will make you feel terrible for these people while also posing questions and opening up debate forums to better comprehend their actions.

It’s one of those rare examples where the audience’s reaction to its portrayals gives the film substance by allowing your imagination to fill in the blanks. When you read a book, the narrator’s description defines a scene and leaves the rest to your imagination, but here those quiet periods are fueled by excellent performances with unsaid words.

The Age of Innocence’s Direction

The Age of Innocence is a treasure that is underappreciated. The filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s attempts are seen throughout the film. When it came to portraying the interplay of his primary characters, you could see it in those strange perspectives and the way he lets the backdrop fade as if everything becomes background noise. It goes on to create further levels of emotion, making you question how much these people care about each other. People who are gazing at the camera read letters. It’s a subtle method of personifying messages and making them seem as though they’re coming straight from the author.

The wealth and beauty of New York do not go unnoticed. The majesty of modern-day New York is portrayed as a fusion of British and American cultures. It’s more like a period of transition, when grandeur has replaced cool. The narrator’s description, however, is what makes you feel the emptiness and allows you to see through the façade.

Throughout the play, carriages waited at the curb. Americans want to go away from entertainment even faster than they want to get to it, it was generally known in New York, but never recognized.

The Storyteller

Its gradual and effective guidance allows you to get entangled in its complex lifestyle. Martin depicts operas (Gounod: Faust in the start) and balls, French influences, extravagant manners, and garish lunchtime conversations to bring society and culture to you. He lets you take in all the gory details, allowing you to be the judge of a time in history when the truth was buried under a veneer of deception.

By bringing you to the tables of rumors and debates, the director allows you to listen in on the actual shallow dialogues. Scorsese makes you experience the anguish via Newland’s eyes as he feels powerless attempting to defend opposing viewpoints by letting you bite into their discussion. When you come in with a rope of social norms around your neck, you can’t help but ask what the purpose of all that pompous manner is.

Newland Archer is played by Daniel Day-Lewis.

Daniel Day-Lewis invents another another character and imbues it with his own personality. He stands on the brink of taking a leap of faith, blown away by the winds of change. Newland Archer’s character is best described by his desire to leave everything behind and storm away from order. Daniel is faking his dramatic moments by standing on a hanging boat, attempting to master both of his personas.

Nothing quite captures this persona as well as the Narrator:

In private, he questioned conformity, yet in public, he defended family and tradition. This was an universe so delicately balanced that its peace might be destroyed by a whisper.

The Storyteller

Newland, unlike Winona Ryder’s character, is a sentient spirit who is always thinking. May Welland is the epitome of shallowness and conformity, which he hated but gladly accepted. She is the embodiment of traditions, a carefully orchestrated set-up that society believes is the ideal match for Newland.

Ellen Olenska is played by Michelle Pfeiffer.

Ellen Olenska appears in Newland’s life. By becoming the talk of the town, she infiltrates his thoughts. Even though Newland attempts to protect her reputation by engaging into arguments and having her admitted to the most prestigious banquets, her divorce is looked upon by society.

Michelle captures the essence of Ellen’s character, eliciting the appropriate feelings from her. She is a modern-day hybrid and a prisoner of the human heart. Despite being engaged to May, Newland can’t help but fall for this lady. Aside from her destiny, her outlook on life is shaped by the devastation in her heart. She has a depth to her that the others lack, and she is powerful without being an emotional mess. She has a lot of life experience and is attempting to find her place in a society that gossips about her behind her back.

Newland is completely over heals in love with her, but the others around him are constantly revolting. Their beliefs are stifling him until he chooses to let the cat out of the bag and let his emotions run free.

The Drama

The dramatization that the film feeds you is fantastic. The plot of the film is essentially constructed around it, with events that smoothly prepare the way for it.

There are so many lovely moments that take you through the agony that the lovers are through. It isn’t simple to love each other, even if it seems to be. Newland finds himself in a pickle with May welling up in the background and Ellen unwilling to accept him because of society and what it could do to him. He eventually embraces society’s way of life, even if he has lost all interest in May.

The mere mention of Ellen has an effect on Newland. It’s difficult to see him go between optimism and sorrow. He continues to demonstrate his love for her by attempting to sneak time to be with her whenever he has the opportunity.

Some of the conversations are so good that you can feel perspiration running down your neck. The movie’s suspense is extremely genuine and tangible.

The Age of Innocence movie still

When May breaks a bubble in the movie, it seems as though everything will work out for Newland and Ellen. May defies the lens through which we have been viewing her, as she makes an existential implication that she needs a kid to preserve her life. It’s a risky bet she takes when cornered, and it’s something Ellen can’t oppose in her right mind.

Ellen relocates to Europe as a result of this. She can’t bear the thought of causing her cousin’s life to be turned upside down because of her selfishness. You could feel the longing in Newland’s eyes at her goodbye party, like if his treasured possession was slipping away. As they wish her goodbye, the family thwarts any attempts to speak with her.

The Age of Innocence Comes to an End

Another climax of the film occurs at the very end, when an elderly Newland is persuaded by his son to reconnect with Ellen after his wife’s death. May had revealed on her deathbed that they were all secure with Archer because he had given up the one thing he desired the most when she begged him to. “She never asked me,” says Newland in response.

Newland Archer was never given an option, if you think about it. It was shoved down his throat and he was instructed to swallow it. May had also enquired of Ellen with the connotation of a new baby on the way. Ellen made the choice to leave Newland on her own.

Newland is one of those people who has suffered an agonizing kind of injustice, not only from society, but also from his wife and lover. He may or might not have behaved in the manner that was considered appropriate if he had been given the option, but he wasn’t given that option. It’s a remorseful and regretful remark.

In the End of the Age of Innocence, Why Does Ellen Walk Away?

Newland Archer, sitting at the entrance and being pushed by his son to meet Ellen, decides to walk away. Even after his wife’s death, he chooses not to meet Ellen. That choice was now his to make.

Years ago, he was manipulated by the two ladies in his life, and he had no say in the matter. By becoming a victim, he had behaved in accordance with their desires. His life had been marred by many kinds of social injustice.

Walking away is a strong statement, and it’s also a spiteful act in response to the injustice. It didn’t matter now, either. When it meant most to him, when it was all he could think about, it was taken away from him. He’d outgrown his childhood and lived a life of social respect.

It was too late now. It was pointless to meet her in the hopes of reigniting a flame that had died out. It’s mostly because it’s gone.

Because we’re viewing the last scene through Newland’s viewpoint, we don’t see how Ellen looked after all those years. We don’t get to see her because he doesn’t want to see her. It’s really better this way, not knowing how she is or how she looks. Newland has lost interest in rekindling those emotions.

The Final Decision

The film Age of Innocence is a masterpiece. The writing is so good that you can’t help but be impressed by the narrative in the background. The directing is without a doubt one of the finest in the industry. It’ll linger in your memory, just as it has in mine, and will be a subject of conversation if we’re talking about excellent movies.

The Age of Innocence

the age of innocence movie wallpaper

Pros

  • Excellent Direction
  • Excellent writing
  • Exceptional acting

Cons

  • Some people may hope for a good conclusion.

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