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The Essentials: The Age of Innocence (1993)

A tale of nineteenth-century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman's cousin. (PG, 139 min.)


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Synopsis: Martin Scorsese, one of the great directors of our time, directs Oscar®-winner Daniel Day-Lewis (1989 Best Actor, My Left Foot), Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder in a brilliant adaptation of Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. A ravishing romance about three wealthy New Yorkers caught in a tragic love triangle, the ironically-titled story chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy of high society in the 1870s. At the center of the film is Newland Archer (Day-Lewis), an upstanding attorney who secretly longs for a more passionate life. Engaged to the lovely but ordinary socialite May Welland (Ryder), Newland resigns himself to a life of quiet complacency. But when May's unconventional cousin returns to New York amid social and sexual scandal, Newland risks everything for a chance at true love. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE is a spellbinding portrait of hidden romance and regret.
[Sony Pictures Entertainment]

Starring: Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg
Director: Martin Scorsese
Genre(s): Drama, Romance

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"A magnificent movie."

— Julie Salamon, Wall Street Journal

"A feast for the senses."

— James Berardinelli, ReelViews

"Scorsese's most poignantly moving film."

— Geoff Andrew, Time Out

"An extraordinarily sumptuous piece of filmmaking."

— Todd McCarthy, Variety

"It's a beautiful story that extends past the boundaries of time."

— Debbie Urbanski, Chicago Tribune

"Day-Lewis and Pfeifer are on top form with Ryder giving the performance of her career."

— Angie Errigo, Empire

"A beautifully done adaptation of the novel, polished, elegant and completely cinematic."

— Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"Scorsese shows he can flex an entirely different set of muscles and still make a great movie."

— Desson Thomson, Washington Post

"Thoughtful and reflective, it stands with the most exquisitely crafted films in recent memory, joining eloquently conceived images to an uncommonly literate screenplay."

— David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

"A great, velvety, beautiful anachronism. It's a movie almost drunk on romance, literature and cinema, a splendid period picture that keeps rashly breaking rules and boundaries."

— Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"The Age of Innocence remains a consistent spellbinder, laying bare its inhabitants’ follies and furies with a tender touch and a vigilant quietude that accumulates into a grand force."

— Danny King, Village Voice

"It comes eerily close to duplicating the experience of reading while, at the same time, remaining very much a motion picture. That's a rare, perhaps even unprecedented, achievement."

— Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"The finished film is graceful, gripping and more accessible than several of Scorsese's contemporary New York movies. Scorsese has created a model adaptation that manages to be both remarkably faithful to its source and more audience-friendly than the Merchant/Ivory movies to which it will be compared."

— John Hartl, The Seattle Times

"I love all those close-ups of fires blazing when the mood gets frosty. I love the lavish operas they attend, using the glasses to spy on each other. I love Elmer Bernstein's score, its ghostly waltzes and the way it seems to inspire the birds to soar upwards in the final heartbreaking scene in Paris, Wharton's adopted home."

— Andrew Gilchrist, The Guardian