Watching Ben Kingsley in Elegy is watching a master having a little fun. Kingsley dives head first into the role of David Kepesh, a successful writer who now teaches at Columbia. David has a habit of falling for his much younger students, so it’s no surprise when he becomes enraptured with the elegant Consuela (Penelope Cruz).
Soon, the two are engaged in a passionate romance that David (through his ironically cynical narration) feels is doomed. It’s simple: he’s too old… or she’s too young. But either way, it is going to have to end. Consuela feels differently, she’s in love and having fun, age is hardily a factor for her.
The beauty of Elegy is how director Isabel Coixet makes you feel for this immature, horny, old man. Because David is played by Ben Kingsley, it’s hard not to like him, even if he is a bit of a prick. For instance, David can’t seem to tell his frequent bedroom partner (a fiery Patricia Clarkson) about Consuela, he’s so afraid of the truth, afraid to be alone.
Dennis Hopper adds a nice touch as David’s best friend with a brutally “realistic” view on life. But it’s Cruz and Kingsley who bring everything to the table. As she did in Vicky Christina Barcelona, Cruz is proving that she can hold her own against some heavy acting players.
Elegy is a simple, yet delightfully crafted film. I wasn’t quite sure where the story was taking me, but I was glad when it got there. B+