Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Age of Innocence (1993) (2nd time)

Tale of 19th 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. [imdb]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Supporting Actress: Winona Ryder
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Score
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design (WINNER)

There are many things not right with this movie. However, I find myself strangely appreciative of Martin Scorsese's direction, even though the shakeness in the story and tone are to his blame. Yet, the film has delicate, wonderful, sometimes excellent moments that suggest some great decision making. How about that beautiful montage with paintings narrating Newland & May's honeymoon? And the brilliant decision to have a voice-over during the entire storytelling (and what a voice! Joanne Woodward!). And some subtle screenplay elements, like the honeymoon cottage narration!
But as I said, much doesn't fit! I am undecided (or just didn't care) about Daniel Day-Lewis's performance; was it the right casting? How much did he help the character? Winona seemed just right for the innocent role, yet except for a scene towards the end there really wasn't that much for her to do! Michelle is fine, but she gets lost in the second part (probably why she didn't get an Oscar nomination) and in the end she doesn't get a punch to really give a shape to the performance! Plus: shouldn't the countess have been a bit younger? :P she felt like Winona's mom (a hot mom, but still) instead of her cousin.
I'm quite sure this was just votes short of getting both a Best Picture nomination and a Director one. The Costume Design win is much worthy and the Art Direction nomination really (really!) gave Schindler's List a run for its money! But in the end it still is an inconsistent film that I found hard to love, especially due to Daniel's (strange?) lack of charisma.
My rating for the film: 7.5/10. A film I have much respect for (oh, that voice over!), but could never love.


  1. I love this actually...okay not love but my review is'll see. A 7.5 is good though. I understand the lack of punch keeping Michelle from a nod but I still think she deserved one.

  2. That might be true. But Stockard Channing had a big scene right at the end of 6 Degrees... and that's what got her the nomination. I don't really remember how good she was, but it seemed... ok. the nomination. I loved her in The West Wing, adored her, so it's hard to be objective.

    and Debra Winger... I haven't seen Shadowlands (or not all of it). I have a bit of crush of her, but she seemed quite weak from the trailer... who knows.

    I might've went with Binoche in Trois couleurs: bleu. she and michelle were probably the runner-ups

  3. I forgot who won that year? Was it Holly Hunter in the Piano? Yes, and Anna Paquin won Best Supporting. I never saw "Age"...will have to check it out one day.