The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Utilizing three different points of view, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” tells the story of a couple struggling to maintain their marriage in the wake of tragedy.

Mary Strother, Writer

“There are two sides to every story.” This old adage serves as the tagline for a new film from director Ned Benson, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” Told in three parts: his, her, and them, these movies serve to paint a full picture of a couple who struggles to keep their marriage afloat in the wake of personal tragedy.

‘Them’ begins with a light and funny scene between the main couple, Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) and Conor (James McAvoy). Upon finding they both forgot their wallets when out to dinner, but instead of figuring out a way to pay, they make a quick run for it down the street and through a park, where they collapse in fits of giggles and the mood almost shines with how happy and in love they seem.

The next scene, however, has a darker tone. Eleanor hurls herself off of a New York City bridge and into the water below. Thankfully she is rescued, and she returns to her parents’ home to recuperate, seemingly stung by the embarrassment of a failed suicide attempt. We can tell that something is very wrong, but those of us in the audience have no idea yet what this could be.

For his part, Conor does not fare well either. He struggles with the sudden ‘disappearance’ of his wife and her refusal to see him. The narrative moves back and forth between Conor and Eleanor, giving information about where each person sits in their journey and the journey that begins to bring them together again.

With gorgeous, and somewhat genius cinematography that colors each scene specifically — Connor's scenes in blue tones, Eleanor's scenes in red tones, and the together scenes appear in more balanced tones. This movie pops visually and packs a punch emotionally. The expertly nuanced performances from Chastain and McAvoy tell the story of two broken, but beautiful, souls trying to repair something they lost.

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