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.


Isabel Coixet


Nicholas Meyer (screenplay), Philip Roth (novel)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Penélope Cruz ... Consuela Castillo
Ben Kingsley ... David Kepesh
Dennis Hopper ... George O'Hearn
Patricia Clarkson ... Carolyn
Peter Sarsgaard ... Kenny Kepesh
Debbie Harry ... Amy O'Hearn (as Deborah Harry)
Charlie Rose ... Charlie Rose
Antonio Cupo ... Younger Man
Michelle Harrison ... 2nd Student
Sonja Bennett ... Beth
Emily Holmes ... 1st Student
Chelah Horsdal ... Susan Reese
Marci T. House ... Administration Nurse
Alessandro Juliani ... Actor #3 in Play
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight ... Actor #2 in Play


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love Has No Boundaries


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


David (Sir Ben Kingsley) tells Consuela that she looks like Goya's Maja Desnuda. Penélope Cruz (Consuela) plays Pepita Tudó in Volavérunt (1999), possibly a model for the Maja Desnuda. See more »


At one point Ben Kingsley says to Penelope Cruz, "The beast with two backs. Where's that from?" She answers Shakespeare and he agrees that it's from Othello. The fact is that Shakespeare borrowed it from the original author, Francois Rabelais. The phrase appears in French as "la bête à deux dos" in Gargantua and Pantagruel, 1532. See more »


David Kepesh: 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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Referenced in Muchachada nui: Episode #4.2 (2010) See more »


Vedrò con mio diletto
from "Giustino"
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
Performed by Philippe Jaroussky
Courtesy of Emi Records Ltd./Virgin Classics
Under licence from Emi Film & Television Music
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User Reviews

Well Done
6 June 2009 | by bob-rutzel-1See all my reviews

David Kepesh (Kingsley), a college professor, falls head over heels in love with one of his students, Consuela (Cruz) who is 30-years his junior.

Don't you just hate it when a movie title sends you to a dictionary? What bothered me is that Elegy is defined as a poem or song for someone who is dead according to Webster. This story is based upon a novella by Philip Roth entitled The Dying Animal. See where the movie title and book title are at odds?

Yes, someone died, but not one of the major characters, David or Consuela, and the story was not about the one who died.

We do not know why a beautiful woman, Consuela, would fall in love with David, who is 30-years older than she is. Just accept it. It happens (not to me but to others). The romance is seen like two teenagers feeling each other out (no pun intended). Actually, it's kind of nice to see this back and forth. First we have to get over the fact that David is Father Time and we do. We like him. The dialogue and the performances of Kingsley and Cruz are the winners throughout and the dialogue is simple, direct, caring, and respectful. Just like when we were teenagers back in the day and maybe that is why we don't mind this relationship. We remember.

When I first noticed that Ben Kingsley was playing the part of a womanizer, I thought the "Sexy Beast" was released again. That was a name given him as a character in one of his previous movies and I cannot recall which one. But, that was not the case here. His David was an attentive lover.

As for Penelope Cruz, I always knew she is a pretty woman, but in this movie she became one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. And, in the nude scenes that show her breasts, her beauty becomes amplified if that is possible. Nothing cheesy in here. Very well done.

Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson play vents for Kingsley's David. Everyone needs someone to talk to without reprisals. They did good as did all others in the cast.

Violence: No. Sex: Yes. Nudity: Yes. Language: Yes, some not much

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 April 2008 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Elegy: Dying Animal See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$104,168, 10 August 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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