Thursday, January 13, 2011

New York's Greatest Book, continued.

Daniel Day Lewis with Winona, the good waif wife in Age of Innocence, who favors the latest fashions.
Daniel Day Lewis with Michelle Pfiefer, the hot Euro misfit, who wears out-of-fashion, overly sexy clothes.

I love The Age of Innocence, the book and the movie, but I have always seen it as the quintessential period piece, as in "WOW, times were so different then; can you believe they still had human emotion?" So NYMag's recent declaration had me "couldn't help but wondering" a la Carrie Bradshaw, is the "strain of distinction vs. assimilation" still New York's defining struggle? Does anyone really want to assimilate these days?

On second thought, the last scene in The Age of Innocence does encapsulate a very "now" moment. Daniel Archer, the lead, gets the opportunity of his lifetime: a chance to get with his dream girl, guilt-free. But he chooses to bypass it saying only that he's "old-fashioned." Awesome ending! I've always thought, he is proud, because "his" New York is changing and he wants to defend the one that he lived. So, he is an individual (read: a New Yorker) after all, not an assimilator.

The Age of Innocence was a period piece when it was written (it was written in the twenties about Victorian times, and the amazing last father-son scene, which ends with "just tell her I'm old fashioned") and I think that is very "New York" too, the clash of the eras defining the time.

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