What You Need To Know:
Ben Kingsley gives a great performance as David. Penelope Cruz shines as the object of his desire. Dennis Hopper is charming, but immoral as David’s best friend. The movie’s worldview, however, is Romantic. Consuela becomes everything to David. When he has her, he’s happy. When he doesn’t, his life has no meaning. Further, David glorifies the “free love” attitude of the 1960s as a re-discovery of “sexual happiness” that allegedly had been stamped out by the Puritans. There is much sexual content in ELEGY, plus many shots of a topless Consuela. Thus, media-wise viewers will want to avoid this art-house work.
(RoRo, PaPa, LL, SSS, NN, A, MM) Strong Romantic worldview mixed with strong hedonistic pagan elements; 11 obscenities and two profanities; no violence; graphic depiction of multiple sexual scenes; multiple scenes of upper female nudity, upper male nudity, and rear female nudity; wine drinking; no smoking or no drugs; and, adultery, divorce, bad father/son relationship, and a negative view of marriage
ELEGY is an emotional drama about David (played by Ben Kingsley), an aging university professor whose main interest in teaching is seducing female students. He meets a student named Consuela (played by Penelope Cruz) and is immediately attracted to her, not only physically but also emotionally. Though there is a thirty year difference in their ages, they strike up a relationship that lasts for two years.
David considers Consuela’s beauty to be a work of art, yet cannot accept the fact that she really loves him. He becomes increasingly obsessive over her. His cowardice regarding commitment and fear of losing her ultimately drives her away.
The story follows David as he mourns the loss of his best friend, George, and two more years pass. Then, Consuela enters his life again, this time for a surprising reason. David starts to overcome his fear of relationships, having learned much from Consuela.
Ben Kingsley gives a great performance as the conflicted, aging professor struggling with his own mortality and inability to truly have a relationship. At times, he’s attractive, and at times, repulsive. Penelope Cruz shines as the object of his desire, and Dennis Hopper as David’s best friend is charming, if morally questionable. There are many aspects of this movie to commend, including the writing and directing.
However, the movie’s worldview is clearly Romantic. Consuela becomes everything to David. When he has her, he’s happy, and when he doesn’t, his life is has no meaning. Further, the movie suffers from a hedonistic outlook mixed with this Romanticism. For example, David glorifies the “free love” of the 1960s as a re-discovery of “sexual happiness” that allegedly had been stamped out by the Puritans. David himself is a “serial seducer” and ultimately suffers from a lack of genuine relationship. Outward beauty is valued above character and the comment is made that David doesn’t really know Conseula because he’s too enamored with her looks.
David himself is a womanizer of college students and has a terrible relationship with his son from a former marriage. His son begins to repeat the same mistakes of his father as he begins to cheat on his own wife. There is much depicted sex in ELEGY as well as many scenes of a topless Consuela. Media-wise viewers are best advised to stay away from this excessive art-house work.