- Director:Isabel Coixet
- Cast:Patricia Clarkson, Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, Peter Sarsgaard
- Release Date:April 09, 2009
- Running time:113 minutes
- Film Worth:$12.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
“…an intelligent tale of ageing, beauty, love and loss.”
David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley) is a writer and literary commentator of minor celebrity, aged in his sixties, who uses his intellectual prowess and charm to consistently bed women almost half his age. His weakness for female beauty has become an addiction; his conquests channeling vigour into a gently ageing frame, but his worship of their form now standing as the chink in his carefully fortified emotional armour. Consuela Castillo (Penelope Cruz) is a dazzlingly beautiful, alluring student who is more than thirty years his junior. David waits until her final grades have been determined before making his move, though whether it is out of respect to her or the sexual harassment laws is debatable. He is used to being the predator, but with Consuela, he is so enthralled by her beauty as to be a fly stuck in ointment. He falls madly, passionately, obsessively in love with her, an affliction which is tempered only by his seemingly pathological inability to commit.
Themes of mortality and the ageing process are unfurled, peered at and examined from all angles in this tale of a man who refuses to act his age. David is well aware that he conducts his romantic affairs like a teenager, but the company that he keeps provides no incentive to settling down. His closest friend, George (Dennis Hopper), is incorrigible in his ongoing infidelities with younger women, and happily ignorant of the wife waiting for him back at home. David's own sexual liaisons with Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson) have been occurring for the better part of twenty years, without the two having ever been in a committed relationship. She is a successful businesswoman still some years his junior (she was herself once an infatuated student), who comes knocking on his door every few weeks in between her flying visits around the country. Their liaisons are founded on a deliberate lack of emotional attachment.
Elegy is based on the novel The Dying Animal by Philip Roth, the enfant terrible known for shocking readers with his frank portrayals of male sexual lust. Director Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me, The Secret Life Of Words) has adeptly woven this intelligent tale of ageing, beauty, love and loss. It is doubtful, however, that either she or screenwriter Nicolas Meyer were aiming for a love story in which the peripheral characters steal the show. It is in the relationship between George and David, in particular, that the film really comes to life. The two old friends bicker and banter and discuss the intricacies of life in a manner that is truly engaging. Like a touch of seasoning, George brings out the best in a David that would otherwise border on melancholy and bland.
There is a beautiful classical score throughout, which is so evocative that it almost ceases to be an accompaniment and instead becomes a character of its own - the depressive friend who is always ready with a song of lament for each occasion. This measured use of music, combined with the richly poetic language and the ruminations on mortality, renders the film a perfect elegy in itself.