Self Watches “Elegy”

It made her cry. Good thing self was seeing it by herself, as hubby is very allergic to any weepiness from self these days. Amazing, since Dear Mother-in-Law is pretty emotional herself. In fact, has been all agog, these past few days, even calling up self to get more details of Ying’s passing. Really, some people are like dogs to a scent.

Leave me alone! self wants to shout. She happened to pick up the phone yesterday, while hubby was at an office party. She was taking a break from writing her play when the phone rang. Caller ID said “Caller Unknown,” which it says if the caller is from Manila, and self thought it might be one of her brothers so she picked up and, wouldn’t you know, it was Dear Mother-in-Law, who for the first time in 20 years had called to speak specifically to self. What about? Well, about Ying, to find out, according to Dear Mother-in-Law, “how she is doing.”

And once again self has to hear herself pronounce the awful words: “She died.”

“She did????” Dear Mother-in-Law exclaims. “When? How?”

Oh my God, self thinks, do not tell me I have to get into this all over again. Because, the first time, with hubby, it was excruciating. And, not satisfied with that, five minutes after she finished telling him, he called his mother and told her everything in minute detail. In fact, they were on the phone almost 20 minutes. And self doesn’t see how all of this could be of any interest to Dear Mother in Law, for she has met Ying at the most three times in the past 20 years.

Now self quickly thinks up an excuse and tells Dear Mother-in-Law that she has to meet an aunt for dinner. But Dear Mother-in-Law is not ready to hang up just yet. She persists in asking self more and more questions (on the order of, “What time did she die?” and “What time exactly?”) and self is sure she is going to rot in hell, because for the second time this week, she has to be disrespectful to her elders.

“My aunt is waiting! I have to go!” self exclaims and then (very gently, she hopes) puts the phone down.

Okey-dokey, back to “Elegy.”

First of all, self thinks Penelope Cruz deserves an Oscar, for the way she played Consuela (funny, self knows so many Consuelos, but she has never encountered a Consuela until this movie) was so moving.

And Ben Kingsley was a cad, of course. That is, he played a cad to perfection. Self thinks he is the luckiest actor in the world, for long ago he was stuck playing Gandhi, and then a few years ago (in his sixties already, self is sure), he got to play a “Sexy Beast”, and then now he gets to be all hot with Penelope Cruz in bed, and adore her breasts, and whisper sweet nothings into her ear and what-not.

And not only does he get to do that with Penelope Cruz, but with Patricia Clarkson, who seems to get hotter and hotter as she ages (If dear blog reader ever wants to know what Patricia Clarkson looked like 20 years ago, just watch the third or fourth Dirty Harry movie, where she played a newspaperwoman), and now she is at peak hot-ness (just like Kristin Scott Thomas was in “Tell No One”), and her voice is smoky and low, and she has such a wry but knowing smile, even after Ben confesses that he two-timed her with Penelope and, well, that Ben Kingsley plays an absolute idiot.

Dennis Hopper is in the movie, and he is very good, too. In fact, self considers his last scene a major, major, ten-hanky moment.

And Peter Saarsgard is there as well, playing Ben Kingsley’s disaffected son, and even though he is a little more plump than self likes to see him, he is cute.

So, there. Self has successfully described the movie in full (she hopes) for dear blog readers.

And now, self is going to take the two beagles for a walk. Because it is somehow so comforting to self that the two li’l crits continue to demand their meals and their walks and their little treats, and are acting just as spritely as ever, never for a moment allowing self’s gloom to affect them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.


  1. Kathleen Burkhalter said,

    September 15, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Those lil crits are an island of normal in a sea of chaos.

  2. September 15, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Oh, yes they are! And I felt sooo much better after walking them.

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