Thursday, September 18, 2008


New from the desk of The Movie Snob

Elegy (C-). Ben Kingsley (Bloodrayne) plays David Kepesh, a professor of cultural studies and a successful critic who frequently appears on television and radio. Having run out on his family back in the 60's or 70's, Kepesh appears to have had a succession of meaningless sexual relationships, not uncommonly with his students. (Or, once sexual harassment became frowned upon, former students.) One semester he is smitten with a Cuban student, Consuela Castillo (Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona), and as soon as ink is dry on the final exams he begins his pursuit. She puts up minimal resistance, and the rest of the movie is how this relationship between the aging professor and the only-slightly-older-than-average college student plays out. Kepesh is so Ben Kingsley--so unsmiling, so beady-eyed, so reptilian--that it is really difficult to suspend disbelief that Consuela could fall for him. Until the closing credits rolled, that is, and I discovered that the film is based on a novel by Philip Roth. I've never read Roth, but I know his work also inspired The Human Stain, in which the Nicole Kidman character falls for the Anthony Hopkins old-professor character. Hmmm. Anyway, I couldn't warm to the movie b/c the protagonist is a such a cold, self-absorbed jerk (always a big stumbling block for me when I try to enjoy a movie). But Cruz, I have to say, is really growing on me, after her dynamite performance in Volver and very good one in Vicki Cristina Barcelona. I'm even starting to think she's attractive, which is a new development. On the whole, though, not a very good movie. Oh, I didn't even recognize Debbie Harry of the rock band Blondie in a small role as the wife of a poet played (not very well) by Dennis Hopper (Apocalypse Now).


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter