Elegy (film)

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Elegy ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Isabel Coixet
Produced by Tom Rosenberg
Gary Lucchesi
Screenplay by Nicholas Meyer
Based on The Dying Animal 
by Phillip Roth
Starring Penélope Cruz
Ben Kingsley
Dennis Hopper
Patricia Clarkson
Peter Sarsgaard
Cinematography Jean-Claude Larrieu
Edited by Amy E. Duddleston
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films
Release dates
  • August 8, 2008 (2008-08-08)
Running time
112 minutes [1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $13 million
Box office $14,894,347[2]

Elegy is a 2008 drama film directed by Spanish director Isabel Coixet and adapted by Nicholas Meyer from the Philip Roth novel, The Dying Animal. The film stars Penélope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, and Dennis Hopper, and co-stars Patricia Clarkson and Peter Sarsgaard in supporting roles. The film is set in New York City, but was filmed in Vancouver.


David Kepesh is a cultural critic and professor, in a state of 'emancipated manhood'. Previously married, he has a son who has never forgiven him for leaving his mother. His relationships with women are usually casual, brief and sexual in nature. His Pulitzer Prize-winning friend, George O'Hearn, suggests that he "bifurcate" his life: have conversations and enjoy art with a wife, and "keep the sex just for sex".

Believing himself to be an independent and self-actualized individual, he encounters Consuela Castillo, a beautiful and confident student who attends one of his lectures. She captures his attention like no other woman, and they begin a serious relationship. David is also in a casual 20-year relationship with Caroline, another former student.

Over dinner, Consuela invites David to her graduation party. George advises him to leave her before she leaves him. Consuela waits for an answer, but David only promises, "I'll have to check my schedule." Consuela is frustrated. In the end, he agrees to attend. On the day of the event, David phones Consuela and claims he has blown a tire and is stuck in bad traffic and it will be unavoidably delayed. In reality, he is sitting in his car, anxious about meeting Consuela's family. Heartbroken and annoyed, Consuela hangs up. Sometime over the course of the next two years, David introduces his friend, George at a poetry conference; George collapses on the stage and later passes away. David's son Kenny is embroiled in an affair.

Two years pass before Consuela and David come into contact again. On New Year's Eve, David arrives home to find a message from Consuela. She mentions that she needs to tell him something before he finds out from someone else. At his apartment, Consuela announces that she has found a lump in her breast and will need surgery. Grief-stricken, David cries and asks her why she didn't tell him sooner. Consuela then asks David to take photos of her breasts, before the doctors 'ruin' them in the surgery. David agrees.

In the final scene, David visits Consuela at the hospital where she is recovering from her surgery. Consuela says, "I will miss you". David responds, "I am here" as he climbs into the hospital bed and gently kisses her face. In a fantasy scene, the film flashes back to David and Consuela on the beach where Consuela told David she loves him.


Critical reception[edit]

Elegy received generally favorable reviews from the majority of critics. It currently holds a 75% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus "An intelligent, adult, and provocative Philip Roth adaptation that features classy performances, Elegy is never quite the sum of its parts."[3] The film also holds a rating of 66/100 based on thirty-two reviews on Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[4]

Top ten lists

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.


  1. ^ "ELEGY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  2. ^ Elegy at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Elegy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  4. ^ "Elegy". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 

External links[edit]