Watched a movie called Elegy. Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz. Powerful co-stars.
Kingsley is a college professor, Cruz is a student, he is 30 years older than she is, they have an affair/fall in love. Kingsley is not married, he has been divorced and now lives a life he calls "emancipated manhood." Of course Cruz throws a monkey wrench into his philosophy of life.
I think Kingsley is one of the greatest actors around. He exudes power and class and intelligence and sophistication and spices it with a taste of intimidation. I haven't seen enough of his movies.
You want to see an excellent portrayal of evil, rent yourself Sexy Beast. Kingsley plays an amazingly intimidating and cold hearted evil dude in a very straight on but original way.
Please help me. I am suddenly sounding like a phony baloney film critic.
Elegy could have just been a cliche, but Kingsley and Cruz bring tremendous emotion to it. I was focused and on high alert as if I was watching a thriller.
Dennis Hopper plays Kingsley's best friend who talks him through this relationship with wisdom and bemused detachment. He is Kingsley's age and is getting a kick out of the infatuation.
I'll give the plot away because you won't rent it anyway. They have a torrid, sensitive, intellectual mature affair that eventually ends because of Kingsley's self consciousness of the age difference.
They don't see each other for years until she suddenly comes back into his life having been diagnosed with breast cancer. During the movie there are a few love making scenes where you get to enjoy Cruz's beautiful body. Some of the intensity of their relationship comes from Kingsley's worship of her beautiful body. They talk about it.
The night she reappears in his life she asks him to take pictures of her body before it becomes deformed through surgery. She takes off her shirt and sits on his couch in just her jeans as he takes the pictures.
The scene is not erotic. It is powerfully painful as she poses with tears in her eyes.
Another twist to the movie is a long term lover that floats in and out of Kingsley's life. They think they have everything figured out but she becomes upset when she finds out about Cruz. Even though they say they have no claim on each other.
Humans, baby, humans. There is no end to how we delude ourselves.
There are great quotes concerning age in the movie that I really dug considering how far down the road I am in my own life.
Kingsley says "I think it was Betty Davis who said old age is not for sissies. But it was Tolstoy who said the biggest surprise in a man's life is old age."
I love the following quote although I have no idea what it means.
Kingsley: "When you make love to a woman you get revenge for all the things that defeated you in life."
And a bit of philosophy from Hopper: "Beautiful women are invisible. We never actually see the person. We see the beautiful shell. We're blocked by the beauty barrier. Yeah, we're so dazzled by the outside that we never make it inside."
I am not doing the movie justice because I am flat tonight. No energy.
The point is, actors change or improve a movie or create something more than the script because of what they bring to it. Their talent, their interpretation, their chemistry.
Kingsley and Cruz bridge the age gap and bring intensity and meaning to their relationship. Hopper is excellent as the wise old friend and it breaks your heart when he is felled from a stroke and eventually dies because of it. Kingsley's lover brings another level of intensity to the story.
Kingsley has a son who resents him because Kingsley divorced his mother. They are estranged. The son has marital problems brought on by an affair, he doesn't know who to talk to so he turns to his father. They have amazingly full on brutally honest discussions conducted in a matter of fact way.
I am too tired to make my point in the intense way that it deserves. Suffice it to say that Elegy made my Tuesday night. It captured my attention and made me feel.
One more level. The definition of elegy is: a song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentation, especially for one who is dead.