Mistakenly believing this 2008 film was what scored Penelope Cruz her Oscar, I had no idea what else to expect from this DVD other than the giant picture of Sir Ben Kingsley's face on the cover. My ignorance quickly became bliss, as I was treated to one of the most "real" and shadowy sweet films I've seen in a long time.

University literature professor David Kepesh (Kingsley), long divorced and known for hopping from coed to coed, zeroes in on a beautiful Cuban-American student (Cruz) who steals his attention. The two begin a love affair the sexagenarian may be unready for. And as go his uncertainties, so goes their relationship, and the tone for the rest of his life.

I am compelled to applaud nearly everyone involved with this film. Kingsley is brilliant, Dennis Hopper—as Kepesh's rather un-sage-like confidant—absolutely shines, and Patricia Clarkson delivers beautifully as a 20-year fling and female counterpart to Kepesh's hopeless lack of human connection. Perhaps the weakest link was Cruz's Consuela, whom I couldn't seem to distinguish from her character in 2001's Vanilla Sky—a favorite film of mine.

The biggest props have to go to director Isabel Coixet for her vision of the novel by Philip Roth. She delivered gorgeously understated shots while developing the story of David and Consuela.

I was thoroughly captivated by this film. Though it's important to note the potential for accompanying tears, and that the film includes sexual material and tasteful nudity, I cannot stress how highly I recommend this movie.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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