Writer: Nicholas Meyer (screenplay), Philip Roth (novel)
Director: Isabel Coixet
Budget: $13 million (estimated)
Gross: $739 357 (as of August 24th, 2008)
Elegy: a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, esp. a funeral song or a lament for the dead.
the first film i saw from director isabel coixet was by accident. if you remember when i talked about The Secret Life Of Words, i mentioned that i only saw it because my pvr recorded the wrong movie. however, after watching it, i was very glad it did. as for Elegy, this one i made a point to go see in the theater because of how much i liked The Secret Life Of Words, and similarly, after having watched it, i was very happy i did.
on the surface the film might sound like another old-professor-young-student movie, and i guess technically it is: ben kingsley plays the professor and penelope cruz plays the student. however, the story isn't being used as a hook to get into some kind of stupid thriller or melodrama. as with The Secret Life Of Words, Elegy is about the characters and the themes of love and age and death.
the film is a drama, and also similarly to the other film, it plays beautifully with silence. yes, there is a score and plenty of music, but there are these moments of silence that coixet provides us with that stand out beautifully. she is also working with the same director of photography and while both films are well shot productions they do vary in their visual tone and movement dictated by the story and characters.
kingsley is having a very good year so far. it was only a few weeks ago i talked about The Wackness and in that film, kingsley also plays an aging man with a high sex drive for younger women coming to terms with how he has lived his life and the fact that he is getting older. it might sound like type casting, but these are two very different characters and kingsley is again fantastic.
the film is based on a novel by philip roth, The Dying Animal. having not read the book i cannot talk to how the film compairs, but from someone who is not familiar with the novel, this is an easy recomendation, and a film worth catching for the few weeks it will probably be sticking around in the theatres.