Age of Innocence, The

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: +1 1/2

The elite social inner circle of New York City in the 1870s seems to be preoccupied with the opera, elegant balls and banquets. Actually these elaborate gatherings serve as opportunities to manipulate proper marriages, criticize "common" behavior and observe suspected indiscretions. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is expected to marry May Welland (Winona Ryder), young and beautiful, but rather dull. Her cousin Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer) has just returned to New York after spending several years in France married to a Count. Right away, the society's elite peg her as too worldly to fit into their strict and rigid mold of a proper lady. As one dowager remarked, "she even wore a black slipper satin gown to her coming out ball." At a small dinner party, Ellen shocks the social set when she walks across the room to talk to Newland. He is captivated immediately by her charm, wit and beauty. AGE OF INNOCENCE glows as it brings Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize winning novel to the screen with rich, colorful settings, first class acting and classical musical score. This film is a must for lovers of literature. The adult subject matter and lack of dramatic action will not appeal to young children.

Director Martin Scorcese, famous for some of the most violent, and blasphemous films of recent years, is to be commended for this untainted adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel. AGE OF INNOCENCE is a stunning example that a passionate love story can be told without nudity, and frustration and anger expressed without cursing or violence. Ellen and Newland are shown kissing passionately in two scenes. Adultery is implied between May's father and Ellen; however, it is portrayed as unacceptable behavior. As Newland and Ellen's mutual attraction becomes obvious to family members, they carefully manipulate the situation to avoid a crisis. Naive May matures quickly and prevents her infatuated husband from leaving her. It is refreshing to be able to ask readers to write Columbia Pictures, complimenting them on this example of quality adult entertainment.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Columbia Pictures, 711 5th Ave., NY, NY 10022

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: Twice (female nudity in paintings on wall)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Twice (passionate kissing)

Drugs: None

Other: Adultery implied but not condoned

Running Time:
Intended Audience:

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.