Cultural critic David Kepesh finds his life -- which he indicates is a state of "emancipated manhood" -- thrown into tragic disarray by Consuela Castillo, a well-mannered student who awakens a sense of sexual possessiveness in her teacher.
David Kepesh is growing old. He's a professor of literature, a student of American hedonism, and an amateur musician and photographer. When he finds a student attractive, Consuela, a 24-year-old Cuban, he sets out to seduce her. Along the way, he swims in deeper feelings, maybe he's drowning. She presses him to sort out what he wants from her, and a relationship develops. They talk of traveling. He confides in his friend, George, a poet long-married, who advises David to grow up and grow old. She invites him to meet her family. His own son, from a long-ended marriage, confronts him. Is the elegy for lost relationships, lost possibilities, beauty and time passing, or failure of nerve? Written by
David tells Consuela that she looks like Goya's Maja Desnuda. Penélope Cruz (who plays Consuela) plays Pepita Tudó in Volavérunt (1999), possibly a model for the Maja Desnuda. See more »
I think it was Betty Davis who said old age is not for sissies. But it was Tolstoy who said the biggest surprise in a man's life is old age. Old age sneaks up on you, and the next thing you know you're asking yourself, I'm asking myself, why can't an old man act his real age? How is it possible for me to still be involved in the carnal aspects of the human comedy? Because, in my head, nothing has changed.
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Perhaps the most moving aspect of this very moving adaptation of Philip Roth's "The Dying Animal" is Penelope Cruz's extraordinary performance. Ben Kingsly is also superb but we're kind of used to see him explore different universes with absolute ease. From "Ghandi" to "Sexy Beast" Penelope Cruz is a whole other story. From "Volver" to "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" to "Elegy" in rapid succession have transformed this Spanish beauty into one of the best actresses of her generation. She gets under your skin and transmits the emotional journey of her characters with a powerful strength that lasts and lingers. The truth she carries is all consuming and makes the experience totally unforgettable. Her performance alone makes "Elegy" a must see.
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