Elegy: DVD Movie Review (2009)

10/18/2009 Posted by Admin

DVD Movie Review

Directed by Isabel Coixet, written by Nicholas Meyer, 108 minutes, rated R.

Isabel Coixet’s “Elegy,” based on Philip Roth’s novella “The Dying Animal,” is about a May-December romance between two intellectuals, one of whom is 30 years older than the other.

If that doesn’t exactly sound like steamy fare to you, fair enough. But should you rent the film or add it to your Netflix queue--which you should because the movie is that good--be forewarned. This is one liberated movie, with the cast obviously having studied at least a few pages of the “Kama Sutra” before taking to the screen.

From Nicholas Meyers’ script, “Elegy” is far more than just a sex show, though, with will surprise nobody who knows Roth. In this case, it’s really about how the effects of age belie that we’re still much like that person we were in our youth.

Nobody knows this better than David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley, excellent), a literary lion on the book scene and an esteemed college literature professor at Columbia who once was married, but soon realized after having a son that marriage wasn’t for him.

David isn’t made for intimacy--he doesn’t want to take the risk, he doesn’t want the complications. He just wants to…well, you know. He’s a man made for the pleasures of the flesh, and with a steady supply of that offered to him over the years via his classes, he has taken his share of it, seducing women along the way, and having quite a time of it.

One of his former students has been with him 20 years. Her name is Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson), she’s a successful businesswoman, and she is David’s moral equal. She just wants sex. Nothing more, though she does demand that she has it exclusively with David. That's their arrangement, so each time she’s in town, they fall into bed with each other and have a grand romp.

But when into David’s class comes Consuela Castillo (Penelope Cruz), David is struck by her beauty as well as her sophistication. She’s a mystery, this one, and on the spot, he decides that he will have her. The trouble is that now, in spite of possessing such an attractive mind and being in excellent shape, he worries whether she will have him given how age has allowed a feast of wrinkles to consume much of his face?

The answer is that she will have him, and so begins their affair, which is charged with meaning, fraught with sex and for each--and, really, most startlingly to David--the underpinnings of love. With the help of his poet friend, George (Dennis Hopper, finally back in a film that plays to his cynical strengths), David tries to rationalize what can’t be rationalized.

His pull toward Consuela is so strong, it leaves him weakened while her seductive powers grow. Who is she to him? Who is he to her? Consuela isn’t afraid to ask, but damned if David can find an answer that doesn’t go against everything he’s come to believe in himself. And so a bridge of silence is allowed to form between them in a movie whose characters, all beautifully played by a superb cast, struggle to keep that crumbling bridge aloft.

Grade: A-

View the trailer here:

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  1. LiveLaughLoveCj said...

    I am looking forward to this movie. Oscar Winning performances from what I am hearing! Stellar cast!

  2. Admin said...

    It's a wonderful movie.