Reviewing Elegy

While in Madrid, I had the chance to see the film Elegy, which is yet to be released in the US. Rarely has this been the case as movies released in the US often take 1-2 years to make it to Europe, so everything that in the English language is playing when I visit here came out forever and ago.
Despite being an English language film, the reason it has come out so much earlier is because Penelope Cruz is Spanish as as well as the director, Isabel Coixet who is actually Catalan. So, without spoiling the ending or any plot bits for those back home, I’ll kick out a review a bit ahead of the curve, since it appears to be getting a limited release when it does come to the US at the end of June.
Overall, I didn’t much care for the film. The script is decent and the directing is quite well executed by Coixet. The cinematography is quite good as well. But, the film just never really clicks. To a large degree, I blame the producers and actors. Ben Kingsley and Cruz should never have been put in the same scenes together. Their chemistry is awful. I’ve never really cared for Cruz’s acting that much and this is just another example of her not really shining. In the scenes where she doesn’t appear and it’s just Kingsley, the film works quite well. It happens to showcase what is probably the best performance by Dennis Hopper that I’ve ever seen and the scenes with him and Kingsley are great to watch. The scenes with Patricia Clarkson and Kingsley also work very well. It’s to the point where I’m wondering if it is indeed the producer’s fault for working to get Cruz in to the film for her name or if there is something that Coixet was trying to do with Cruz and Kingsley that didn’t work or I didn’t get. I don’t think that it helped that these were the first bedroom scenes that Kingsley has ever done in his 40+ years of acting.
On a completely subjective note, the story is also something that didn’t really appeal to me. It’s set in New York and is very much what I consider to be a New York type of story in that it’s a pandering view of a few individuals who don’t have to worry about any real life concerns (like paying the electric bill or cleaning the shower.) At no point did I ever really feel like I was given a reason to give a damn what happens to the two main characters. Not good.
On a five scale, I’d probably give it a two and a half. It might appeal more to some than others, especially for those who live in NYC and must love these types of films as they keep getting produced. If however one is a tremendous fan of Cruz’s breasts, then by all means, I wish you happy viewing as you will get a tremendous dose.
Watch a small chunk of the film if you’re interested.
Reviewing Elegy