There is no better word to describe Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer-winning novel than sumptuous. From the gorgeous costumes to the stunning set design, this is an absolute feast for the senses: Exploring 1870s New York society through the lens of a doomed romance between Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer, Scorsese recreates a world lost to history that seems both breathtaking and oppressive, defined as it was by the self-imposed mores of a class that saw itself as society’s elite. The movie falls short of being a masterpiece due to a stinging lack of romantic chemistry between Day-Lewis and Pfeiffer, but Winona Ryder shines as the underestimated fiancee of Day-Lewis, hiding a cunning nature behind an innocuous girlishness. It’s certainly not for everyone due to its languid pace, but those who appreciate period pieces and American social history will be delighted.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)