There is a payoff in Elena, but it takes a lot of resolve to get there. The film opens with several minutes of birds on a tree branch outside a window ... and the pace really doesn't pick up much over the next hour. Elena (Nadezhda Markina) lives in a loveless marriage with a wealthy tycoon (Andrey Smirnov) who is putting his affairs in order after suffering a heart attack. They married late in life, arrived there from different castes, and have their own histories to sew up while working on this final chapter. Elena wants some of the inheritance to take care of her struggling family and her husband wants to leave it all to his daughter from a previous relationship, so something has to give. The strong character development is welcome, but ultimately the strength of the performances is weighed down by the droning pace.
Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev
Producer: Alexander Rodnyansky
Cast: Yelena Lyadova, Nadezhda Markina, Aleksey Rozin and Andrey Smirnov