(246)6.71 h 52 min2008R
A professor finds his life, which he indicates is a state of "emancipated manhood", thrown into tragic disarray by a well-mannered student who awakens a sense of sexual possessiveness in him.
Isabel Coixet
Ben KingsleyPenelope CruzPeter Sarsgaard
English [CC]
Audio languages

Included with STARZ on Amazon for $8.99/month after trial

Add to Watchlist
Add to
By ordering or viewing, you agree to our Terms. Sold by Amazon.com Services LLC.
Write review

More details

Supporting actors
Dennis HopperPatricia ClarksonDeborah HarryCharlie RoseAntonio Cupo
Gary LucchesiTom RosenbergAndre Lamal
R (Restricted)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.3 out of 5 stars

246 global ratings

  1. 70% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 7% of reviews have 1 stars
Write a customer review
Sorted by:

Top reviews from the United States

WC138Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
As obnoxious as the novella.
Verified purchase
Don't let the headline of my review fool you; this is by no means a bad film. Nor is the novella a bad book by any means. It is, however, obnoxious in the very definition of the word.

The main character is dreadfully unpleasant, and the supporting characters are either equally so or dismally two dimensional. Roth, the original author, tended to craft most of his title characters in a mary-sure fashion, but with an eye towards dysfunction, neurosis, and making them difficult to like if not completely unsympathetic. It's also a difficult time to watch an elder professor who preys on his students without feeling a bit repulsed, given the current climate of Hollywood. The film will attempt to play into shaming you for being sexually repressed, but I assure you that your repulsion has nothing to do with the Puritans.

While it's difficult to watch a film that presents such an undesirable and repugnant picture of it's main character, it's an interesting watch. Not every aspect of life will be sunshine and roses, so why should our films be any different?
8 people found this helpful
Marcia in DCReviewed in the United States on April 6, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Sometimes friends are better than lovers.
Verified purchase
This movie was so forgettable I rented it twice without realizing it. Good (not great) acting by Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley. The most interesting twist was the friendship between the characters played by Kingsley and Dennis Hopper. The romance between Cruz and Kingsley is pretty unbelievable--the old professor and the drop-dead gorgeous graduate. Another interesting twist is the fuck-buddy relationship between Kingsley's character and that of an acquaintance, who still gets jealous of another woman in the professor's bed. The best thing about the movie is the classical music that interweaves through it, all different kinds, all contributing to the atmosphere and the plot development.
6 people found this helpful
sharonReviewed in the United States on March 3, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Verified purchase
I'm giving this a great review because I read some of the bad reviews and those people seem heartless. Not a lot of movies can show us inside miserable people that aren't trying to kill each other, but love and accept each other, even if they don't understand or know how and without being depressing. I've said too much. Ben Kingsley is stellar, as usual. He can become any man. Penelope Cruz is also a great actress. I loved all these people they were playing, even though happy not to know any like them right now, though bits of them reminded me of me and others that have been in my life. Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson, too! What a treat! I was so mad at Ben Kingsley's character a few times I was yelling at the tv...LOL
2 people found this helpful
Danielle MarieReviewed in the United States on August 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
No Judgment
Verified purchase
I have viewed this film in it's entirety several times. I am age 70. I remark this here so anyone will understand that I have 5 adult decades of social experience. I cannot make observations here about the original book and it's author. What I do is make observations of the movie content. The efficiency of the characters that the actors manage to create. I am not concerned with the real world actor. When I watch such a film, I adopt the "characters" into my present life and act accordingly. This typically for me means keeping a box of tissues on the near by coffee table. I only ask a reviewer to consider the performance and not the script. I watch the eyes, the facial muscles, the invisible electricity that passes between any two characters. While such a personal relationship is rare between two people that are 30+ years difference, I have seen such a devotion develop and prosper for multiple decades. It left me to ask, "what did this young beautiful woman see in this aging professor?" I can honestly say, in reality, the maturity of both individuals makes the difference. "They were just boys!" It tells you immediately, without question, how the woman viewed the man. My own time with a person 25 years my senior, I am 25 at the time, brings back fond memories of such an experience. Breasts or the lack there of regardless of cause do not have to make or break such a relationship. The real beauty is not in facial symmetry as we all know causes one to think another is handsome or beautiful, rather, it lies deeply seated in the soul and very being of an individual. You cannot "cut this away!" The very nature remains the true essence and beauty of the age different relationship. People are raised entirely too shallow. Too self-oriented. While the professor tends to demonstrate this shallowness, in reality, he too is heart broken over his own behavior. Letting her go was the right things to do. How to accomplish this so she can go on in life for love, children, family, was hard to accept. Regardless, it will always be painful. One it seems must suffer to be happy in the long run. A true roller-coaster! Hills make the valleys and the valleys are part of the hills. Highs and lows of social, emotional involvement. Bring on the large boxes of tissues!
9 people found this helpful
Kit MarloweReviewed in the United States on March 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Great Film.
Verified purchase
This is a great film in every way I can imagine. The acting is exquisite. Cruz had me mesmerized one scene after another. She was perfect. Kinsley's character was complex in ways on rarely sees outside of a novel. Behind the whole production is a great deal of intelligence and a deep understanding of people and their motives.
6 people found this helpful
victrolaReviewed in the United States on August 6, 2012
4.0 out of 5 stars
Bittersweet Romance
Verified purchase
I first saw parts of this film on HBO one night when I was traveling on business.
I admire Ben Kingsley's acting (for the most part) and Penelope Cruz is so lovely I was curious and decided to give it a try and ended up purchasing the DVD online.
As several other reviewers have mentioned here, Ben Kingsley plays a sort of intellectual cad praying on his young students for sexual satisfaction to feed his ego. This time he hits the jackpot and has Penelope Cruz by day and Patricia Clarkson as the older business woman every third week for a sleepover. I don't know, his obsession with her breasts and her looks just made me uncomfortable and to feel for her character. You get the feeling he would tire of her once she got older and start having the affiars with his students again.
He never intends to fall in love with Cruz's character, (but he does) and then his lack of maturity hastens the end of their affair.
Several years later he receives a call from her (New Year's Eve) and she comes over to his apartment to tell him she has breast cancer. This is where I lost interest because the film became to depressing, and was depressing to begin with.
Still I must say I watch this film over again when I want to be depressed.
4 people found this helpful
Jack CadeReviewed in the United States on March 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
I have long thought Roth our finest writer and The Dying Animal a small masterpiece--his books ...
Verified purchase
Oh God what a film!! I have long thought Roth our finest writer and The Dying Animal a small masterpiece--his books do not normally translate well into films but this one does Kingsley and Cruz are wonderful as is Dennis Hopper--it conveys that mixture of eros/ thanatos that has always obsessed him. I wish like Le Carre he was still writing
T. RosaReviewed in the United States on March 18, 2009
4.0 out of 5 stars
Despite what they say - story telling is not dead...Elegy
Verified purchase
There is so much to be said about this film. What comes immediately to mind is how much it says with so little dialogue. "Arguably" this can be attributed to the great direction, cinematography, writing and acting all found within the 112 or so minutes of the film. An elegy is a poem that is written for someone who is dead and yet the only person who dies in this movie never really dies. Perhaps the elegy is for the lifeless person within David Kepesh that has to die so that he can finally live. I guess the title Elegy beats Dying Animals, the title of the book the story is adapted from, written by Philip Roth.

Sir Ben Kingsley is one of my favorite actors. In his role as Professor David Kepesh he delivers a truly believable character as the older intellect that has spent a great deal of his post-divorced life avoiding the permanence of "relationships" and all of its nasty and complicated "entanglements". As a consequence he has also lost the best that love and all of its complications can often bring to a life. Kepesh crosses paths with a young student Consuela Castillo... translated her name literally means "consolation" which could very well be what her role is in Kepesh's life...what he thinks will be an easy conquest for him to accomplish ends up being something totally different and unexpected. Ah, life!

As a fairly attractive and interesting professor, Kepesh seduces his way through women with his intellect and suave explanation of the literature, art and music he surrounds himself with. He is arrogant and believes that when the tryst between them is over he will have left them more cultured in exchange for their new understanding of what it is like to be with an older man. For such a "cultured" man he is rather uncultured.

Early in the movie, he makes a very profound statement about books. Paraphrased...he basically states that if you read it [a book] today it will mean one thing but if you go back and read the same book years later it will mean something different because a book is relevant to the moment it is being read and is just a book until someone reads it and defines what it means. It can change over and over again. I think the same is true for people. We are just who we are until someone comes along and affects, inspires, motivates, forces, and compels us into who we become...for that time in our lives. We can change over and over again.

Ben Kingsley is great but you need someone or something to bring out that intensity; in this "someone", came my greatest surprise and pleasure. Enter Consuela Castillo; a student and an object of desire for the professor. Much like the professor, I didn't expect to fall in love with the character Consuela Castillo, beautifully and believably performed by Penelope Cruz. [Ms. Cruz is getting so much better at leaving her desire to speak English without an accent and is now just delivering the goods. I am a fan.]

I appreciate the way Cruz uses her eyes to speak and her facial expressions and body language say so much for Consulea with so few words. You feel what she is feeling whether it is annoyance for the professor's possessiveness or the look of true desire that we can read with the flair of her nostril and the arching of her back in response to his overtures. You've seen her in other movies where she is very capable of delivering the intent of the character and the moment. She does so in this film with great tenderness and is deliberate in just how much she holds back, leaving you, the audience wanting more of her. So who is the real seducer? What makes her different from all the rest and how did she manage to change the paradigm so drastically? You tell me.

Any way the story is about the alchemy of these two elements. Even when they are lying they are honest. Each of the characters in this story all have much needed and essential roles to play. They hang like a perfectly hinged door opening and closing letting you go in and out of what is happening in the story and feeling it all quite easily without having to give it much thought. There is nothing gratuitous about this story or any of the characters we get to see and meet. What I get from this movie is that life is what happens whether or not you are awake. Living is what you do to make the moments matter. The discoveries along the way are the difference between living and just merely existing. In this story we get to see the continuum disturbed and what would appear to be a stable life, get rattled to its core. That is life. It's all quite beautiful.

There is so much more. Just see the movie and discover what you will...share it when you do.
3 people found this helpful
See all reviews