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Elegy Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    There's a poetic irony to the idea that it took a female filmmaker to finally do justice to Philip Roth on screen.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Ray Bennett

    Cruz's performance deserves to be seen widely, and it should place her again in line for prizes, but the story's pretensions and downbeat mood will not endear the film to audiences.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    By the time it's over, Penelope Cruz has slipped away with it, and transformed Kingsley's character in the process. It's nicely done.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    True to its title, Elegy is a spare, meditative and melancholy film. It is a deeply affecting and profoundly observed saga about love, art, beauty and, especially, mortality.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    This is an offering for mature viewers thrown out amidst a sea of summer flotsam. The title, Elegy, is perfect for the material. There is much tragedy and truth in what the makers of this movie have brought to the screen.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Brainy, mature, emotional film tackles sex, love.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this haunting, emotional film is best for older teens and adults. It deals with mature subjects that are hard to understand, even for grown-ups: love, fidelity, betrayal, and mortality. There's some drinking and strong language -- primarily "f--k" -- as well as partial nudity (bare breasts and backsides) and plenty of sex scenes. Men and women toy with each other in manipulative ways, and the male characters tend to regard women as sex objects. But the main character does change for the better over the course of the movie.

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays sex. What is it saying about the role that sex plays in relationships? Parents, talk to your teens about the real-life consequences and emotional issues surrounding physical relationships. Families can also discuss why Kepesh is the way he is. How does it serve him to be emotionally distant? How does it cripple him? What roles does Consuela play in his life? Is he truly in love with her, or just the idea of her? What does this movie have in common with other films about May-December relationships? How is it different?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Men view women primarily as sexual objects. Both genders play games with each other. Couples engage in meaningless sex to fend off loneliness. But one marriage endures despite challenges; in the end, it's portrayed as a safe harbor during a difficult time. The main character, who starts out as self-serving and sexist, transforms into someone made vulnerable, though happier, by love.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Some lovers' spats, as well as conflict between father and son. Nothing physical.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Fairly frequent sex scenes showing women's bare breasts and backsides, a man's bare chest, and a couple in various sexual positions. Some detailed discussions of sexual exploits, including one crass play-by-play about a boyfriend obsessed with his girlfriend's menstruation. Discussions about infidelity; one man admits to cheating on his wife, while another is seen canoodling with a much younger woman.

  • language false3

    Language: No steady swearing, though when strong language is used, "f--k" appears to be the word of choice.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Logos for the Village Voice, Beck's beer, a gelato shop. Mentions of Prado, Cuantro, and Grand Marnier. Snippets from Charlie Rose (TV show).

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adult characters drink wine and other liquor fairly frequently, though no one gets drunk.