Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ben Kingsley, Penelope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson,
Peter Sarsgaard, Dennis Hopper, Deborah Harry

Star Movies

Spanish director Isabel Coixet's films tend to enthrall us with thought provoking plots that are presented in simple narratives. She caught my attention with such intriguing films like "The Secret Life of Words" and "My Life without Me".

"Elegy" is Coixet's film adaptation of "The Dying Animal", a novel by Philip Roth. It relates the lonely existence of David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley) a professor and cultural critic who begins a passionate affair with Consuela (Penelope Cruz) his much younger Cuban student. David internalizes his thoughts out loud through a narrative where he expounds on morality, old age, jealousy, obsession, commitment (lack of) and sensuality among other existential topics. He also confides in his best friend, George (Dennis Hopper) a philandering lothario who tends to give him sexist pieces of advice vis a vis love and life in general.

The main draw of the film is the brilliant acting performance of Sir Ben Kingsley. Here he is a deeply vulnerable, raw, and exposed character with numerous flaws. His stance and his eloquent delivery of dialogue is haunting and poignant. Penelope Cruz is equally explosive in her subtle role as the student who captures and in turn awakens the fiery sexuality of the aging professor. Their romantic chemistry was intense. The supporting roles are well cast with Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson providing significant fodder to the main characters.

The rather vague ending was a bit melodramatic yet overall this film was a moving and powerful account about a complex of emotions between a tortured soul and the woman he fell in lust and eventually in love with!

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