Directed By: Isabel Coixet Starring: Penélope Cruz Ben Kingsley

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Product Overview

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.


Studio Sony
SKU 210629261
UPC 043396274396
UPC 14 00043396274396
Format DVD
Release Date 3/17/2009
Rating Rating
Based On A Novel
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
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.
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
Isabel Coixet
Penélope Cruz
Ben Kingsley
Cast & Crew
Peter Sarsgaard - Star
Penélope Cruz - Star
Deborah Harry - Star
Dennis Hopper - Star
Patricia Clarkson - Star
Ben Kingsley - Star
Jean-Claude Larrieu - Director of Photography
Eric Reid - Executive Producer
Tom Rosenberg - Producer
Phillip Roth - Source Writer
Terry A. McKay - Executive Producer
Nicholas Meyer - Screenwriter
Andre Lamal - Producer
Judd Malkin - Executive Producer
Gary Lucchesi - Producer
Richard S. Wright - Executive Producer
Isabel Coixet - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2008
Catalog ID 27439
UPC 00043396274396
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 112 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English
Available Audio Tracks English
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review 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.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review 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.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 8
DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Claudia Puig, USA Today ...a deeply affecting and profoundly observed saga about love, art, beauty and, especially, mortality.
Jeffrey Lyons, NBC/Reel Talk Oscar-worthy performances from Penelope Cruz and Sir Ben Kingsley.
M.E. Russell, Portland Oregonian The film is exquisite on every level, full of sadness and emotional surprise.
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly Grade: A!
Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle A richly textured and compelling film.

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