Skip to main content
Michelle Pheiffer and a lover having a moment in a secluded room.
The Age of Innocence


Presented in association with the Sydney Film Festival and National Film and Sound Archive

The Age of Innocence


3 Jun - 13 Jun

Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature when she wrote The Age of Innocence in 1920; on the surface you might have thought this story of a forbidden love set in the New York of the 1870s would have been better suited to the Merchant-Ivory team (or Jane Campion in The Portrait of a Lady mode) than to the director of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

Tickets: Full $17. Concession $13. Member $10.
  • Martin Scorsese’s eclectic love of classical cinema and, in this case, the cinema of Luchino Visconti, and especially The Leopard, should not be underestimated; The Age of Innocence is one of the finest films of its kind. On one level this is the story of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), the prominent, well-connected lawyer, his marriage to May Welland (Winona Ryder), who comes from a similarly aristocratic background, and his love for the Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), whose reputation has hardly survived a scandalous European marriage.

    On another level, Scorsese takes a leaf out of the book of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons with his witty and intimate depiction of the way upper-class New Yorkers actually lived in the age of innocence. Sumptuously photographed by Michael Ballhaus and scored by Elmer Bernstein, this is one of the finest dissections of 19th Century manners and morals ever filmed.