Friday, October 31, 2008

Must Watch: Elegy

Last night I skipped the ongoing film festival to watch Elegy (IMDB entry here) with Berkeley. The original plan was just dinner but while waiting for him at Siam Square, I found out that Scala is screening it so I suggested that we end the evening with a film.

Based on a novel by Philip Roth, Elegy goes into the mind of an old university professor having a relationship with one of his former students who obviously is many years younger than him. It's a love story tinged with jealousy and untimely departures. I love the dark mood of the film, and at times it has a European texture to it rather than Hollywood. Well, it was directed by Spanish Isable Coixet, which might explain how foreign the treatment is.

Much of the movie rests on the shoulders of the impeccable Ben Kingsley. With just a glance, he captures the character's restrained longing and deep-seated insecurities with amazing subtlety. Penelope Cruz is of course a reliable actress, but her character lacks enough layers to make her engaging. One actress brilliantly stood out though. Patricia Clarkson plays a minor role but the moment I saw her on screen a gasp escaped my mouth. And I honestly have no idea who she is, but her effervescence captured me in an instant.

The movie is very entrancing, and despite its somber ambiance, many of the emotions the characters go through are very familiar. The ending however is a bit forced, but I can forgive the film for that as still it effectively tugs your heart to keep you thinking of it hours after you've left the theater.

See the trailer here.


jayclops said...

I love this film too. Penelope is just perfect. Even Ben Kingsley and Dennis Hopper. Remember that scene where Penelope's character poses half naked one last time and you can see all the melancholy of the film in her eyes when she stared into nothingness.

The Handyman said...

what can i say? brilliant!

kawadjan said...

jay: true, that was a poignant scene, despite the distracting boobs.

handyman: i couldn't disagree with you either.


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