Society scion Newland Archer is engaged to May Welland, but his well-ordered life is upset when he meets May's unconventional cousin, the Countess Olenska. At first, Newland becomes a defender of the Countess, whose separation from her abusive husband makes her a social outcast in the restrictive high society of late-19th Century New York, but he finds in her a companion spirit and they fall in love. Written by
Marg Baskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The paintings that Newland Archer encounters as he navigates the drawing rooms in the Beaufort mansion are, in order: The Duel After the Masquerade Ball by Jean-Leon Gerome (completed in 1857), The Return of Spring by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (completed in 1886), L'Ambitieuse (Political Woman) by James Tissot (completed in 1885). See more »
When Ellen declares her love to Newland, on the wall behind her can be seen the painting "The Art, the Caresses, the Sphynx" that was painted by Fernand Khnoppf in 1896. The movie is set in the 1870s. See more »
In a way I am disappointed after reading the comments because I thought I was alone in adoring this ravishing and masterful film, and I thought I would get to be the sole voice in the wind proudly proclaiming its brilliance.
Years ago, I ho-hummed my way through viewing it, and I was so unimpressed, I can't tell you today whether I saw it in a theater or rented it at home. It has been in rather heavy rotation on the movie channels for some reason of late, and I watched it again a few weeks ago.
It simply left me breathless. I must have watched it twelve times over the last few weeks, and am dying to buy the DVD if it ever comes out. Scorcese calls this his "most violent film", and after seeing it again, alone, watching intently, it struck me how completely right he was.
The comments before mine are mostly right on target...I am in awe of the filmmaking and can't say enough about the dramatic subtleties, the opulent production values and the overall magnificent way the entire project was handled. Even the normally atrocious Winona Ryder excelled in a role that was simply a tour-de-force for her...the vapid but yet not so vapid after all May Welland. A masterpiece. Please see it if you haven't already.
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