Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday Matinee: The Age of Innocence starring Winona Ryder, Michelle Pfeiffer & Daniel Day-Lewis


Today’s Saturday Matinee goes back to 1993. Another film that came out the year my son was born, hence I missed the movie based on the classic piece of literature by Edith Wharton. I’m not sure I ever read the book either, not even in college. Forty lashes.
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.

What I find interesting is that it stars a trio of actors whose careers are very much in the public conversation right now: Michelle Pfeiffer who at almost sixty and after a brief hiatus is back to acting with a vengeance. In the last couple of years she’s been lauded for her work in The Wizard of Lies, Mother and most recently Murder on the Orient Express.


Winona Ryder, after a spectacular career in the 1990’s, mostly as a young woman in her twenties—she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work in The Age of Innocence—disappeared for awhile after turning thirty in 2001. She was also arrested for shoplifting at the time, an event which she calls misunderstood but agrees it was a call to slow down. Ryder has been working her way back slowly over the last decade, and with Stranger Things she is, in a big way.


Daniel Day Lewis—also sixty—is often called one of the, if not the, finest actors of his generation, has announced he is calling it quits as an actor. The upcoming Phantom Thread, in which he plays a 1950’s fashion designer will be his last. He hasn’t said why but at sixty, I know from personal experience, one does tend to focus and feel the need to make sure that the last third or so of one’s life allows you to check off this and that from the bucket list. It may be the desire to spend more time with the family, it may be to pursue dreams that have been put by the wayside. A long held desire to paint or write or travel while one is still young enough to be able to. Or perhaps direct. All actors want to direct, don’t they?

In any case, three fine actors, very much doing some of their finest work then, and now, twenty five years later still knocking it out of the park. 


Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Age of Innocence is notable for its gorgeous cinematography by Michael Balhous—it strikes me as being very painterly—and Academy Award winning costume design by Gabriella Pescucci. The movie was also nominated for its screenplay, score by Elmer Bernstein and production design (art direction and set direction) by Dante Ferretti.




Did you read the book? See the movie? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

You can stream the movie on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes and GooglePlay. As always, check Netflix.

The book is one of those classics you can read online FREE courtesy of The Project Gutenberg where you can also download it free of charge to your Kindle. 
You’re welcome.

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