It's the sex film we've all been waiting for: Penelope Cruz and Sir Ben Kingsley, together at last. Yes, it's steamy. Yes, it's sensual. Yes, it's Elegy. A drama about a much older man who loves one of his former students, Elegy is a well-acted but ultimately forgettable tale of "exploration."
Elegy follows David Kepesh, a respected critic and author who has spent much of his aging life moving from one woman to the next with little thought toward commitment. David, who is also a professor, is immediately attracted to one of his students named Consuela (Cruz) and proceeds to seduce her. However, his seduction soon turns to obsession and even love, though his fear of the future prevents him from giving everything to Consuela.
Kingsley delivers a strong but subdued performance; he stands out in neither a good or bad way. His performance is synonymous with the movie as a whole; Elegy is good, but unremarkable. Kingsley drives the film, and yet seems limited by it; his character's unwillingness to be controlled by his emotions corresponds with the lack of emotional power found in the movie itself.
Directed by Isabel Coixet, Elegy offers an interesting story with engaging, believable characters. Yet, Coixet never latches onto the emotional core of the story and opens it up to the audience. The movie lacks that connection, and thus when all is said and done... what's the point?
Unfortunately, the first half is the better half; once the story opens up, Coixet loses focus and control of the movie. As for Cruz, the recent Oscar winner goes along with this; she's good in the first half and not-so-much in the second, despite her character's emotional developments.
Elegy is a decent movie, but seems like an afterthought to more engaging, emotional fare.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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