Elegy (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner06/08/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

Elegy is a gorgeously shot, classy drama with a terrific supporting cast, but Kingsley's curiously hollow performance means it doesn't quite deliver the required emotional punch.

What's it all about?
Based on a novel by Philip Roth (The Dying Animal), Elegy stars Ben Kingsley as David Kepesh, an author and college professor who abandoned his wife and child many years ago, something his son (Peter Sarsgaard) has never forgiven him for. Since then, the closest thing David has had to a meaningful relationship is his monthly hook-up with self-made businesswoman Caroline (Patricia Clarkson), an arrangement that seems to suit them both perfectly.

However, when David falls head over heels for one of his students (Penelope Cruz as Consuela) and begins a relationship with her, his jealousy threatens to destroy everything because he's convinced she'll eventually leave him for someone younger.

The Good
Directed by Isabel Coixet, the film is beautifully shot throughout and frequently feels like a Woody Allen movie, not least because a) Coixet steals actual shots from Allen and b) Kingsley indulges in the kind of May-to-December relationships usually found in the Woodster's back catalogue. There's also terrific support from Clarkson, Sarsgard and Cruz, who looks sensational and reminds you of Sophia Loren.

However, the film is stolen by a superb supporting performance from Dennis Hopper as David's best friend and confidante, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (stop laughing at the back there) who offers terrible relationship advice and still has affairs, even though he's married to Debbie freaking Harry.

The Bad
The problem with the film is that Kepesh remains pretty unlikeable throughout and Kingsley's too cold an actor to pull off the required emotional moments, so the ending is largely unsatisfying, despite the fact that he actually has decent chemistry with both Cruz and Clarkson. In addition, the script has too much voiceover and, frankly, could have used a few laughs.

Worth seeing?
Elegy is a beautifully made drama that's ultimately not quite as emotionally engaging as it should have been, though it's worth seeing for Hopper's wonderful supporting performance.

Film Trailer

Elegy (15)
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Content updated: 21/04/2019 14:03

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