Monday, August 25, 2008


Can a film be too beautifully shot?

Can a woman be too beautifully built?

Can an actor be too beautifully (and self-indulgently) sensitive?

The answer to all three above questions in the film "Elegy" is 'yes.

Both the director and cinematographer of the film caress each frame of each shot with lights and the camera so lovingly and beautifully that I was highly appreciative...for a while.

Penelope Cruz is a work of nature. The sum of her voluptuous parts (eyes, lips, breasts, hips, legs...all right, her feet are just far greater than seeing each part individually). You see her; you (probably women as well as we men)immediately want her. She is Innocent and dirty, young and old, intelligent and naive. And she can act on top of everything else. Although: I couldn't quite buy her as the character: a young (albeit life-delayed) graduate student?

Ben Kingsley is a force of male energy. And acting talent; but so much is wasted in the film on feeling sorry for himself (as the character). Do I believe the character could turn down (refuse commitment to) Penelope Cruz for over a year? And moan about it and do nothing about it? No. I can't feel sorry for that kind of stupidity.

As I was watching Ben Kingsley I was reminder of Anthony Hopkins exquisitely resisting Debra Winger in "Shadowlands" (no lust here; more a fear of intimate refinement)...and they finally get together commitment-wise. To fear commitment when a perfect (for you) partner is offered gradually erodes audience identification and respect: the character's fear becomes neurotic, then self-indulgent, then more for a doctor's office than a compelling film.

"Elegy" is an adult film, a thinking film, a lush sexual film...and well worth seeing.

Probably it's flaws arise from the fact that it is based on a novel by Philip Roth ("Portnoy's Complaint"). "Portnoy" was wtitten when he was young. Unfortunately, he is still complaining as he gets older; and the screenplay and production of "elegy" fall into his trap.


Blogger AJ Christian said...

I agree, the actors are first-rate do great jobs. But perhaps the movie for me is hampered by its subject matter:


9:29 AM  

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