62-year old professor David (Ben Kingsley) despairs the unfairness of growing old while still desiring carnal pleasures. He finds one of his students, a 24-year old beauty named Consuela (Penelope Cruz) to be especially alluring and breaks a rule to go out with her; they fall in love.
An elegy is a nostalgic or melancholy musical piece or poem lamenting death, and that sums up the theme of this movie. Based on a novel by Phillip Roth, it explores a man's many regrets, failings, and losses. The film starts out quite nicely with the couple's initial attraction, but the second half falls apart with a shallow story and boring dialogue delivered at a snail's pace. (It's at least half an hour too long.) The idea of an older man and younger woman being attracted to each other isn't especially noteworthy these days and there just isn't much going on here.
Kingsley gives an excellent performance as the refined and horny professor and Cruz is very appealing as a strong, sensual young woman, but the script fails them. The director tried very hard to make this an intimate art house-type film with lingering close-ups, long silences, and moody music, but in the end there's nothing very engaging or touching about David and his problems.