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‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her’ review



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A heartbreaking performance by Chastain. Enriching completion of 'Him'.


Some minor subplot points.

Posted 24/09/2014 by

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby might sound like a movie about a kidnapping but no, it’s a heartbreaking story about a couple that has to deal with the greatest test a relationship or marriage can ever endure. Director Ned Benson divided his film in 3 pieces: one of the male perspective, one of the female perspective and one of ‘their’ perspective. This choice is totally justified and artistic, and not simply just to generate more money. These different point of views have a resonant value and really contribute to make the experience way more poignant. I will focus merely on Chastain in this review, because she is uh, ‘Her’.


The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her starts off with why Eleanor got in the hospital, exposing the nature of ‘Her’ and clearly ‘Her’ will have more weighing drama. Benson uncovers the female psyche and how she copes with loss. Chastain’s performance is heartfelt and haunting. Even though McAvoy was really stellar, she really excells and outdoes McAvoy’s performance. Where McAvoy’s performance was more like a sigh, Chastain’s performance is an abundant shriek. Where Eleanor seemed very indifferent in ‘Him’, she is totally the opposite here. Even in the scenes that are identical.

James McAvoy Jessica Chastain

Like in the scene above is a prime example the way Benson takes an identical scene but by a different point of view the tone and feel of that scene is totally different, brilliantly done. Besides that both versions of the Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby have identical scenes with different point of views Benson also integrated some dialogue switches for his two protagonists. Like in the car scene in ‘Him’ Conor confesses his adultery, but in ‘Her’ it’s Eleanor that brings Conor’s adultery up. That gives The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby an elusive kind of ambiguity. Love the contrast of emotional reach Chastain displays in this scene.


The scenes between Chastain and Davis are also highlights of this Eleanor Rigby installment. Eleanor doesn’t just find a friend in Lillian but gives her insights that helps her cope with her loss. It’s Lillian and the parents of Eleanor who give her the insights to set her on the right path. The scenes between Chastain and Davis aren’t pretentious but Benson really gives a masterclass in being subtle. The family dynamics of Eleanor’s family gives the film some irrelevant plot points but gives some very enjoyable insights. But it also provides very relevant ones, like Conor’s visit to Eleanor’s mom and provides that scenes with some pivotal layers. After ‘Her’ answers all questions from the third act of ‘Him’ it provides us a very original and satisfying ending.


Benson’s feature debut is a very promising one. Even though his point of view project has it’s problems in pacing i can’t help to be very excited about The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. He provides The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with a soul and the heartbreaking performance of Chastain and the stellar performance of McAvoy gives the movie a very strong backbone. Then you have Hinds, Huppert, Hurt and Davis as supporting cast, Lux as a wonderful composer and the intimate cinematography of Blauvelt have their solid contributions making the flaws feel non-existent.

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Breaking through cinema one movie at a time. Aesthetics above all, Antonioni, Malick & Godard are the G.O.A.T.s. I have a gargantuan soft spot for Vanessa Hudgens. Benoit Debie = THE cinematographer. Don't make war, make art.


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