Elegy (2008)

Dir. Isabel Coixet
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Penelope Cruz, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, Deborah Harry, etc.
6/10

I predict Penny, Grace, Kevin, Chris and probably Mitchell would feel like this was OK, worth seeing, but not great; it’s a film that’s good if you really want to see a film, but can’t find anything worth seeing. The cast is pretty good, and I would say there are some good acting moments and good writing, but the thought of award winning performances did not cross my mind.

**
This is one of those independent dramas that is not completely satisfying, but not a waste of time either. The film deals with a writer and English professor, David Kepesh (Kingsley), who has a relationship with one of his students, Consuela (Cruz). There are other characters in the film: George (Hopper), a poet friend, who serves the role of advisor, therapist sidekick, like Bruno Kirby’s character in When Harry Met Sally or Tony Robert’s character in Manhattan; Carolyn (Clarkson), who is David’s longtime lover that doesn’t seek any commitments; and David’s son, Kenny (Sarsgaard), who is still bitter his father leaving his mother. The story has similarities to the Woody Allen films like Manhattan, but it is more of a drama than comedy.

***
Initially, I had difficulty sympathizing with the character or the story. You know how there are films which are teen fantasies–a super hot girls falls for the nerd. Well, this felt sort of like that except the protagonist is a 60 years old. The other thing that made connecting to the film difficult was the other-worldly beauty of Penelope Cruz. It’s hard to imagine her falling in love with a mere mortal, let alone an old guy–who looks like (and was, in a manner in a speaking), Gandhi! (There are some love-making scenes with a bare chested Kinglsey that just didn’t work for me because I couldn’t get out of my mind that Gandhi was having sex with Penelope Cruz or Patricia Clarkson.)

But I think the character got a little more interesting when we learned more about him through his relationships with Carolyn, the high-powered businesswoman, that consented to a purely physical relationship with no commitment, David’s son and finally with Consuela. The these relationships reveal David was a strong point of the film, and if I saw it again, I think I might enjoy it more.

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