Movie Review: Elegy (2008)

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Drama
Tags: ,


David Kepish (Ben Kingsley) is a hedonistic college professor, who makes his name arguing that the Puritans killed another group of settlers, because they were atheists and believed in free love. David himself believes in love without entanglements, until he meets a beautiful student of his named Consuelo Castilla. (Penelope Cruz) David sets out to woo and bed Consuelo, and does so successfully, but then becomes consumed by her and possessive of her.  He follows her when she says she is going dancing with her brother.  David’s best friend George O’ Hearn (Dennis Hopper) suggests that David break it off with Consuelo, but instead of breaking it off, he continues to date her.  At the same time David is dating Consuelo, he is enjoying a no-strings attached sexual relationship with Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson)  David even goes as far as to lie to Carolyn about his relationship with Consuelo.   Meanwhile Consuelo is  getting frustrated by David’s lack of commitment to their relationship, he won’t even meet her parents at a party that Consuelo invites David to.  Tired of pursuing a serious relationship with David, Consuelo breaks it off.  Two years later, out of the blue, Consuelo calls David and asks him to meet her.  What does she want?  Does he meet her?

This movie starts promisingly enough, David is a witty, pompous , college professor who doesn’t believe in commitment will get his comeuppance when getting seriously involved with a younger woman, or that’s what I thought this movie would be but then it gets dragged down into the malaise of being a serious relationship movie.  The more time elapses, the more dour and melancholy it becomes.  I was glad when Consuelo called it quits, the relationship was getting downright painful to watch.  The big reveal is unnecessary and overly melodramatic, it plays more like a soap than a movie.  Consuelo’s request after the reveal is gratuitous and demeans the serious intent of the movie.  Kingsley is at his best when he’s the wise-cracking professor, but suffers as the lovelorn character.  Cruz shines as Consuelo in a very understated, grounded, serious performance, even though she is given some silly dialogue at times.  The movie suffers immensely when she’s not on screen.  I’d say the second half of the movie is much slower than the first hour.

Elegy:  Takes poetic license with love.

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