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Contrast Btween Book and Movie Versions of the Age of Innocence

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Contrast Btween Book and Movie Versions of the Age of Innocence

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  • July 24, 2001
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he movie version of Age of Innocence follows the text closely. The storylines are very similar, as are the themes. However, there are some differences in characterization, and the movie suffers from problems common to that medium. The characters are simplified and polarized, and the reader is provided with far more depth and insight into the nature and history of the story and characters.

For example, in the movie the viewer sees Manson Mingot's dwelling on the outskirts of town, but is never impressed with the notion that Mingot dislikes the high society, and lives out there to get away from it. Mingot also played a more comical role in the movie than the book, and the decorations in her apartment made her seem more of a slob than an eccentric.

The Van Der Luydens were also treated unfairly in the movie. When the Archers appeal to them on Ellen's behalf, the scene looks like they're going before some kind of tribunal. True, the Van Der Luydens did represent a higher level of social status than the rest of the elite, but the movie made them appear to be stodgy and inaccessible, which is not mentioned in the novel.

Newland Archer receives fair treatment in the movie, but his relationship with May does not. In the movie, Newland seems ready to give up May for Ellen the first time he sees her, whereas in the book, they have a strong relationship even after Newland sees Ellen the first couple of times. In addition, the book portrays Newland as having an appreciation for the standards of high society, which is tested with the introduction of Ellen. The movie portrays Newland as having distaste for the conventions of his class right from the start, most likely to increase the dramatic element.

The movie May also falls victim to attempts at increasing the dramatic element. Her character in the movie is childish and helpless. Even though she is portrayed in the novel as sheltered, so that she may be molded to the form of choice by her future husband,...