Elegy is a film by Isabel Coixet, who brought us The Secret Life of Words two years ago, so it was not surprising for me that Elegy was really good. It is based on the novel The Dying Animal by Philip Roth (actually the third novel in a series revolving around David Kepesh), though I like Elegy as a title better.
The story is about aging professor David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley), who lives from fling to fling with his students, after a rather painful divorce 30 odd years ago. In one of his lectures he meets Consuela Castillo (Penélope Cruz), with whom he begins an affair. Despite of the warnings from his best friend, George O’Hearn (Dennis Hopper), David falls in love with Consuela, but can’t really change his ways. For example, he continues to see Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson), his fuck buddy. At the same time, the worn and difficult relationship he has with his son Kenneth (Peter Sarsgaard) gets tested in new ways.
As mentioned before, the movie is really very good. And it was so nice to see Ben Kingsley act again. I mean, really act, as in playing a believable character. Altogether, the acting was perfect, especially Patricia Clarkson, and more surprisingly Dennis Hopper.
The story is sad, there’s not much of a consolation to be had, anywhere. Which is why I think that Elegy is the better title (if the book is similar to the movie, which I don’t know, because I haven’t read it yet). It’s also hopelessly romantic, but in a very realistic way.
It definitely made me want to read the book, because of the wonderful narrative passages (which I think are direct quotes). And that’s always a good sign.