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1 review, 18 user ratings

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Age of Innocence, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"A Scorsese experiment that doesn't work."
3 stars

In this Merchant-Ivory production uh, pardon me, this Martin Scorsese film food is presented as lovingly as it was in another Merchant-Ivory effort, 'GoodFellas.' People sit and talk and eat, and the camera pans over sumptuous banquets the way it panned over a collection of guns in the Merchant-Ivory classic 'Taxi Driver.'

Okay, enough sarcasm. The point of all this face-stuffing is clear: In the proper New York of the 1870s, the upper class cultivated insatiable appetites to replace the sexual hunger that went unfulfilled. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) does a lot of wistful staring at Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), the woman he loves, who happens to be the cousin of his boring intended, May Welland (Winona Ryder).

Poor Newland! The Countess stimulates his mind, his heart, and other body parts, while May who's a nice enough girl, or seems to be leaves him cold. Then something supposedly fascinating happens: May turns out to be a shrewd manipulator who knows full well what Newland's thinking, and she's determined to hold onto him.

The critical hosannas for Scorsese's drastic-change-of-pace romance (it came right after his hyperbolic thriller Cape Fear) don't match up with what he puts on the screen. He keeps his camera busy, and he creates a stifling atmosphere of messy emotions constantly held in check. But that's what he has always done. He fails, however, to establish any real heat between Newland and the Countess. They just seem like two smart people who laugh knowingly at each other's jokes; then suddenly they're swapping anguished sexual glances. The movie turns preposterous in a hurry.

Where is Scorsese's renowned sensual instinct when it matters? The food scenes get our juices flowing more than the romance does.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1920&reviewer=416
originally posted: 03/12/07 00:25:17
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User Comments

3/27/10 Phil M. Aficiando Falling asleep 4 times is my limit; but it IS pretty and well acted 2 stars
6/21/09 Serena My favourite Scorsese ever. Beautiful and moving. 5 stars
5/20/06 chienne An interesting of etiquette etc, greats sets & costume, Michelle as gorgeous as ever. 5 stars
10/23/04 UMER great performance by day-lewis in an unusual scorsese masterpiece 5 stars
9/26/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 Marty is incapable of making a horrible movie but he's been on better turf 4 stars
3/21/03 Jack Sommersby Emotionally aloof and fatally overdeliberate. A risk Scorsese hasn't brought off. 2 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum It's all very nice to look at, but oh so dull 3 stars
9/29/00 Paul W. The real tragedy? That I wasted my time on this trash. 1 stars
8/04/00 Elvisfan Quite good in thousands of areas but emotionally barren 4 stars
7/28/00 redqueen A visually and emotionally rich, stunning film with lucid, heartbreaking performances. 5 stars
6/02/00 Kevin Ryder and Pfeiffer give career-best performances in Scorsese's masterpiece 5 stars
5/22/00 Phillip Briganti Masterpiece of filmmaking 5 stars
10/10/99 Weird Andy A pretty good adaptation. Not a classic, but worth one's time. 4 stars
8/21/99 Olivia Neutron-Bomb The usual nauseating victoriana, but the visuals were fucking astounding. 4 stars
4/25/99 Michael Grimm Daniel Day-Lewis always looks dirty, so does Winona for that matter 1 stars
4/19/99 jimmy jam Winona is a dumb bitch - but the movie was good 5 stars
4/13/99 little jerry To get the full effect of Scorsese's vision this should be seen partnered with Raging Bull. 5 stars
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  02-Jul-1993 (PG)


  02-Feb-1994 (PG)

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