6.7/10
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115 user 137 critic

Elegy (2008)

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2:13 | Trailer
Cultural critic David Kepesh finds his life, which he indicates is a state of "emancipated manhood", thrown into tragic disarray by Consuela Castillo, a well-mannered student who awakens a sense of sexual possessiveness in her teacher.

Director:

Isabel Coixet

Writers:

Nicholas Meyer (screenplay), Philip Roth (novel)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penélope Cruz ... Consuela Castillo
Ben Kingsley ... David Kepesh
Dennis Hopper ... George O'Hearn
Patricia Clarkson ... Carolyn
Peter Sarsgaard ... Kenny Kepesh
Debbie Harry ... Amy O'Hearn (as Deborah Harry)
Charlie Rose ... Charlie Rose
Antonio Cupo ... Younger Man
Michelle Harrison ... 2nd Student
Sonja Bennett ... Beth
Emily Holmes ... 1st Student
Chelah Horsdal ... Susan Reese
Marci T. House ... Administration Nurse
Alessandro Juliani ... Actor #3 in Play
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight ... Actor #2 in Play
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Storyline

David Kepesh is growing old. He's a professor of literature, a student of American hedonism, and an amateur musician and photographer. When he finds a student attractive, Consuela, a 24-year-old Cuban, he sets out to seduce her. Along the way, he swims in deeper feelings, maybe he's drowning. She presses him to sort out what he wants from her, and a relationship develops. They talk of traveling. He confides in his friend, George, a poet long-married, who advises David to grow up and grow old. She invites him to meet her family. His own son, from a long-ended marriage, confronts him. Is the elegy for lost relationships, lost possibilities, beauty and time passing, or failure of nerve? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love Has No Boundaries

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 April 2008 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Elegy: Dying Animal See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$104,168, 10 August 2008

Gross USA:

$3,581,642

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,894,347
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David (Sir Ben Kingsley) tells Consuela that she looks like Goya's Maja Desnuda. Penélope Cruz (Consuela) plays Pepita Tudó in Volavérunt (1999), possibly a model for the Maja Desnuda. See more »

Goofs

At one point Ben Kingsley says to Penelope Cruz, "The beast with two backs. Where's that from?" She answers Shakespeare and he agrees that it's from Othello. The fact is that Shakespeare borrowed it from the original author, Francois Rabelais. The phrase appears in French as "la bête à deux dos" in Gargantua and Pantagruel, 1532. See more »

Quotes

Consuela Castillo: Beautiful picture.
David Kepesh: Beautiful woman.
See more »


Soundtracks

Dance Me to the End of Love
Written by Leonard Cohen
Performed by Madeleine Peyroux
Courtesy of Rounder Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Moving Ben Kingsley Conduit Stolen By Penelope Cruz
21 October 2008 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

Ben Kingsley, who is capable of playing practically any role, seems to be remarkable at playing men who are very smart but their thoughts are a lot less than pure most of the time. Elegy is a film that could easily have been written with him in mind, though by the time it's over, Penelope Cruz has stolen away with it, and changed Kingsley's character in the progression. It's properly made.

Kingsley seems to be just about the entire movie as a self-seeking book critic. He was married in the past, and has a well-to-do son. He got divorced years ago and has a sex pal relationship with another woman who he sees rarely, played by Patricia Clarkson, who I can totally see having the capability for no-strings occasional liaisons. He is frequently attracted to his female students, and sometimes has sex with some of them. Still, to steer clear of trouble, he always waits until they graduate. With one of these women, Penelope Cruz's character, a more profound relationship grows.

But Kingsley has never matured in this manner. He is preoccupied with jealousy, certain that she is seeing someone else, someone younger, more handsome and virile. He even shows up at a dance he knows she's attending, to check up on her. His doubt frustrates and deters her, because she cannot put up with not being trusted.

When the time comes, the movie makes a dramatic bend which surrounds all the deepest bona fide feelings of the story. And in these scenes, Cruz is peacefully compelling and dreadfully real. You come to appreciate why the director, Isabel Coixet, cast Cruz rather than a younger, authentically college-age actress. An actress necessitates wisdom and the familiarity of time to play these scenes, and Cruz must have both, especially now that I'm seeing her shortly after her incredible performance in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

That this nuanced drama with erudite cultural ambiance is not merely a self-indulgent male writer's wet dream about the horny scoundrel and the exquisite and charming Venus is a relief. That it sees Manhattan plainly as a location benefits this story because it is a place where we suppose things like this are liable to take place, not like the typical burgh where we live. Then there is Dennis Hopper as the old comrade with whom Kingsley has coffee and plays racquetball, who tries to bring wisdom to Kingsley's activities, but sees no light at the end of the tunnel. And Peter Sarsgaard as Kingsley's son, with problems of his own, and a father who has become not only a shame but an unrelated matter. But what the movie's not afraid to do is let you in on Kingsley's feelings after awhile. Who cares about all these things he should accept as responsibility when he's so immersed in love for this new, young person?


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