Newland Archer is a charming noble man living in NY in the 1870s. He got engaged with a pure Junoesque noble lady May Welland. The marriage seems very good, however Archer falls in love with another woman, May’s cousin Countess Ellen Olenska. The exotic (so-called “different”) Countess just returned from EU in order to have a divorce with her dissolute husband, which is seemed an embarrassment to the whole NY society. Archer loves the woman so much that he wants to sacrifice his marriage. However, the formality in the NY society kills their love. Again and again, Archer’s love is destroyed by undemonstrative rumors and quiet whispers from every corner in the society. At last, he decides to have a dogfight, plan to have a frankly speaking with his wife in the sanctum. This time he is totally defeated by the news of May’s pregnant. Again, like all the other people, Archer becomes a regular husband and father.
The movie is absolutely magnificent with beautiful songs and scenes (I even heard a familiar song by Enya). With gentle speakings of old fashion and fine foods magnificent costume along with three wonderful actors especially Daniel Day-Lewis (act as Archer) and Winona Ryder (act as May), the movie is a success. Frankly speaking, the style of Winona looks like Audrey Hepburn (my favourite actress!). Moreover, the actor Daniel is such a charming, a gentleman, that even makes me envy him.
The director, Martin Scorsese, make the movie so beautiful. The color is unblamable. The light music fits the frame. As somebody said, “The director’s sense of color has never been keener, and his work with the actor is subtle”. There are some scenes that I can never forget. The first one is when Archer met Ellen in a garden in Washington, he gently put his hand on hers (which unnecessarily triggers something in my deep heart). The second one is when Archer came out to find Ellen, he found her standing on the dock watching the splendid sunset. The final one is when time passed, after 30 years Archer came to Paris with his elder son, but dared not go upstairs to see Ellen. Watching the shinning of the window reflecting the sunshine, Archer recalled that afternoon Ellen standing there with lake water flashing sunset like thousands of diamonds.
The description of the movie can be found here.
Release Date: 04 March, 2003
Theatrical Date: 01 October, 1993
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Manufacturer: Columbia Tri-Star
Martin Scorsese does not sound like the logical choice to direct an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel about manners and morals in New York society in the 1870s. But these are mean streets, too, and the psychological violence inflicted between characters is at least as damaging as the physical violence perpetrated by Scorsese’s usual gangsters. At the center of the tale is Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), a somewhat diffident young man engaged to marry the very respectable May Welland (Winona Ryder). But Archer is distracted by May’s cousin, the Countess Olenska (a radiant Michelle Pfeiffer), recently returned from Europe. As a married woman seeking a divorce, the countess is an embarrassment to all of New York society. But Archer is fascinated by her quick intelligence and worldly ways. Scorsese closely observes the tiny details of this world and this impossible situation; this is a movie in which the shift of someone’s eyes can be as significant as the firing of a gun. The director’s sense of color has never been keener, and his work with the actors is subtle. That’s Joanne Woodward narrating, telling us only as much as we need to know–which is one reason why the Climax comes as such a surprise.
– “The Age of Innocence”
Even though a lot of people consider Goodfellas as the last true masterpiece of Martin Scorsese, in my opinion this movie deserves to be regarded in the same breath of his best movies. This is very different from what Scorsese is known for doing, makes me wonder if the movie would’ve been better received if it was not directed by him. This is truly an underrated movie.
– “Can’t love you unless I give you up”
In the year 1993 Martin Scorsese surprised everyone by reining his directorship to Edith Wharton’s most enduringly popular novel set in the Golden Age(1870s) of New York society. He is the most renowned and controversial director of his time specialising in theme of violent turmoil(guilt, desire,passion) which is commonly found in people.
– “Visually ravishing, but Michelle Pfeiffer is all wrong”
Martin Scorsese and his team have faithfully captured the atmosphere of Edith Wharton’s magnificent novel, and most of the actors are up to the task. The production design and music are particularly splendid. But Michelle Pfeiffer is all wrong for the role of Ellen Olenska. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she ruins the movie. She’s the wrong physical type, the wrong emotional type. Ellen is supposed to be a mysterious, exotic woman — “different”, as Newland Archer puts it. But Pfeiffer is anything but different. She’s too all-American, too garden-variety-pretty, too much the cheerleader type. It’s not that she doesn’t have acting chops in general, but she doesn’t have what it takes to carry off this role. She even resorts to a kind of kooky, indefinable, faux-foreign accent at times, to signal, I suppose, that Ellen has been living in Europe for years. She’s just all wrong. That’s why I give this otherwise spectacular film only 3 stars. Imagine what a more appropriate actress could have done with this role! Smoldered right through the screen. Anyway, you can always read the book, which is easily 5 stars and then some.
A 1993 movie adaptation was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Winona Ryder, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daniel Day-Lewis, Richard E. Grant and Miriam Margolyes. Winona Ryder won a Golden Globe for her protrayal of May Welland Archer and the movie won an Oscar for costume design.