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Elegy (2008)

Director: Isabel Coixet     Starring: Penélope Cruz Ben Kingsley
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Learn more about Elegy:

Format: DVD
Sku: 210629261
UPC: 043396274396
UPC 14: 00043396274396
Rating: Game Rating Code
See more in Drama
 
An Isabel Coixet Film.
Driven byisabel coixets visually assured and deeply observant direction, elegy charts the passionate relationship between a celebrated college professor and a young woman whose beauty both ravishes and destabilizes him.

"...a deeply affecting and profoundly observed saga about love, art, beauty and, especially, mortality.  Claudia Puig, USA Today
"Oscar-worthy performances from Penelope Cruz and Sir Ben Kingsley.  Jeffrey Lyons, NBC/Reel Talk
"The film is exquisite on every level, full of sadness and emotional surprise.  M.E. Russell, Portland Oregonian
"Grade: A!  Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"A richly textured and compelling film.  Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle

Editor's Note
Like director Isabel Coixet's previous film MY LIFE WITHOUT ME, ELEGY is consumed by the ideas of love and mortality. But while that film focused on a young protagonist, the hero of this drama is an aging writer and professor played by Ben Kingsley. David Kepesh (Kingsley) is a minor literary celebrity in New York City who shies away from commitment, happy with his casual relationship with a businesswoman (Patricia Clarkson) who is rarely in town. But a date with a stunning grad student named Consuela (Penelope Cruz) surprisingly turns into a long-term romance, changing David from a confident Lothario into a jealous boyfriend. His age and her beauty haunt their romance until David begins to push her away.

As its title suggests, ELEGY achieves a perfectly somber tone. Adapted from the Philip Roth novel THE DYING ANIMAL, the script from Nicholas Meyer (THE HUMAN STAIN) doesn't try too hard for the audience's tears. But much of the credit goes to the cast: Kingsley and Cruz make for a sexy, affectionate couple with their layered performances, and Clarkson (THE STATION AGENT) is wonderful as always. Dennis Hopper is nicely cast as David's philandering friend George, and Blondie frontwoman Deborah Harry is very non-rock-and-roll (but incredibly genuine) in a small appearance as George's longsuffering wife. The largely classical soundtrack further adds to the film's contemplative mood.

Features

Video Features DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, Subtitled

Technical Info


Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Sony
Video Release Date Release Date: 3/17/2009
Video Play Time Running Time: 112 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2008
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 27439
Video UPC UPC: 00043396274396
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English
Video Subtitle Available Subtitles: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review Elegy - DVD Review
By: Pete Croatto filmcritic.com DVD Reviews
Published on: 3/6/2009 6:39 PM
Not every book is meant to be adapted into a movie. Come to think of it, not every author is meant for celluloid success. Philip Roth has won pretty much every major book prize, save for the Nobel, and he's overdue for that. His books masterfully examine the fragile side of the middle-aged male ego, and how sex and family and desire eat away at men's souls. With Updike, Mailer, and Bellow gone, Roth is the messiah of American literature. There's just one problem: Books like his make crappy movies. ...read the full review

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Peter Sarsgaard
Video Cast Info Penélope Cruz
Video Cast Info Deborah Harry
Video Cast Info Dennis Hopper
Video Cast Info Patricia Clarkson
Video Cast Info Ben Kingsley
Video Cast Info Jean-Claude Larrieu - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Eric Reid - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Tom Rosenberg - Producer
Video Cast Info Phillip Roth - Source Writer
Video Cast Info Terry A. McKay - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Nicholas Meyer - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Andre Lamal - Producer
Video Cast Info Judd Malkin - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Gary Lucchesi - Producer
Video Cast Info Richard S. Wright - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Isabel Coixet - Director

Professional Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"When Ben Kingsley gets hold of a role he really connects with, he has no need to create fireworks; he lights up a character from within....There's a poetic irony to the idea that it took a female filmmaker to finally do justice to Philip Roth on screen." -- Grade: A 08/15/2008 p.49

USA Today
"True to its title, ELEGY is a spare, meditative and melancholy film. It is a deeply affecting and profoundly observed saga about love, art, beauty and, especially, mortality." 08/14/2008

Sight and Sound
"[T]he film's unobtrusive but stylish cinematography is most notable for the space it gives to the performances and the occasionally amusing, always perceptive writing." 09/01/2008 p.58-59

ReelViews 9 of 10
Elegy, based on Philip Roth's The Dying Animal, provides an incisive perspective of how a person's inability to believe in love destroys a single, fragile chance at happiness. The movie tells the poignant tale of how one man - intelligent, urbane, and witty - represents his own worst enemy when it comes to relationships. Borrowing text liberally from the source material, screenwriter Nicholas Meyer's script not only chronicles the relationship, but provides insight into the mind of the protagonist. We recognize that the love affair is both inevitable and doomed, but watch anyway to see if somehow these two will find away to overcome their self-imposed obstacles...Penelope Cruz makes an alluring and seductive Consuela. She bares her body for David and for director Isabel Coixet's camera without any hint of self-consciousness. There is a marked contrast between her first instance of nudity and her last, but I will not go into details here. This is Cruz's meatiest role in some time. Strong supporting performances are provided by the always reliable Patricia Clarkson and Dennis Hopper, who is suddenly ubiquitous (see also: Swing Vote and Hell Ride)...While Elegy contains its share of universal themes, this is first and foremost the story of a man and how he copes with encountering late in life something that is new and terrifying for him. His voiceover informs us from the beginning that things aren't going to end happily but, even forewarned, it is compelling to watch how the narrative unfolds. Coixet has given us a rich character study with as much depth as breadth. This is an offering for mature viewers thrown out amidst a sea of summer flotsam. The title, Elegy, is perfect for the material. There is much tragedy and truth in what the makers of this movie have brought to the screen. - James Berardinelli

Chicago Sun-Times 8 of 10
Ben Kingsley, who can play just about any role, seems to be especially effective playing slimy intellectuals. "Elegy" is a film that could have been made for him, although by the time it's over, Penelope Cruz has slipped away with it, and transformed Kingsley's character in the process. It's nicely done...The film is based on a novel by Philip Roth, who has just about exhausted my desire to read his stories about young babes falling for older, wiser, intellectuals like, say, Philip Roth. I was reading his Library of America volume about Zuckerman recently, and finally just put it down and said to the book: Sorry, Phil, but I cannot read one more speech founded on the f-word. I don't object to the f-word itself, but sorry, I've simply been overserved...That "Elegy" is not simply a fantasy about the horny old rascal and the comely maid is to its credit. That it sees Manhattan clearly as a setting is also an advantage, since it is a place where we believe things like this are likely to happen. And then there is a wealth of supporting characters, notably Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson), no spring chicken, who has been David's mistress for years. She can't believe there's another woman in his life and launches a barrage of f-words, but she makes the character real -- and poignant. I also liked Dennis Hopper as George, the old pal he has coffee with, who attempts to bring sanity to David's behavior, but despairs. And Peter Sarsgaard as David's son, with problems of his own, and a father who has become not only an embarrassment but, worse, an irrelevancy...The movie is not great. I'm not sure why. Maybe the payoff plays too much like a payoff. Consuela asks David to do something I think we might be better off hearing about, instead of seeing. I'm not sure. The movie is obviously going for a big emotional charge at the end and might have been more effective with a quieter one. But you decide. - Roger Ebert

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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