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500 Five-Star: The Age of Innocence (1993)

October 13, 2011


First things first: there are many, many good things about The Age of Innocence.  Martin Scorcese’s trademark moving camera is one.  The almost overwhelming sense of repression is another.  Winona Ryder’s magnificent performance, the strong, memorable narration, the incredible production design…this is a high quality film and there is absolutely no doubt about that.  Yet here’s my problem: I strongly, strongly dislike both Daniel Day Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer in this film.  Normally, they are actors that I very much admire and enjoy, but in The Age of Innocence I find that they make their characters intensely dislikable.  I don’t even know why.  I can’t give you a reason.  I just hate them.  In a story in which the entrapment of these characters forms the main emotional attachment to the story, this is a big problem.  My wish for these characters to be miserable takes away from the agony that I’m supposed to be feeling, the sadness that I’m supposed to take from a world which refuses to let them be happy.  Trust me, I realise this is my problem, and not the general consensus when it comes to this film.  I recognise that it’s an absolutely beautiful film and one of Scorcese’s best, but, honestly, it just makes me want to rip my hair out with annoyance.



I want to give it five stars, I really, really do.  I’m so conflicted, but I just can’t do it.  I can’t overlook the two lead performances bringing up so much hatred within me.  So forgive me, film fans of the world, but it has to just be…


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