Professor David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley) is the sort of urbane intellectual who has more or less effortlessly scored whatever women he desires throughout his life. Though he was once married, David is chronically afraid of commitment, with his only constants for companionship being his best friend (Dennis Hopper) and Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson), a traveling professional woman with whom he enjoys a no-strings sexual relationship. But life is thrown into upheaval when David begins seeing one of his students, Consuela (Penélope Cruz), and for the first time he finds himself obsessed and possessive.
Plot-wise, Elegy is meditatively uneventful, even aimless. The occurrences are un-extraordinary: sex, fights, breakups, aging, and death. But they're compelling all the same, if only because such events are happening in the lives of such interesting (David) and beautiful (Consuela) people—people who are entrenched in art and poetry, and who seem to move through life at the same thoughtful pace one might use to stroll through a museum or ruin.
Based on a Philip Roth novel, the slow dance of Elegy doesn't seem to lead anywhere as profound as it hints at its onset: When the end comes, it's anticlimactic and a bit cold, and it doesn't resonate the way one might hope. It sure is a languorous, romantic road, though.