The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him
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46 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

Him and Her – At their best when they're together

Author: Julie Kinnear from Canada
20 December 2013

When this intriguing and original film was first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, it surprisingly didn't have a release date. Fortunately, The Globe and Mail reports that less than 24 hours after viewing its Toronto screening, distributor Harvey Weinstein scooped it up. And that's a very good thing — no one should have to miss out on this clever and creative story-telling.

Imagine, for a second, that a friend comes to tell you about his terrible break-up. You hear about how hurt he is and how devastatingly it ended, and you feel for him 100 per cent. But then a few days later, you happen to run into his ex and you hear her side of the story. Suddenly, the break-up doesn't seem so clear. Who's "at fault" is murky, and what really brought the relationship to a close is a complex and intricate issue. That's precisely the mystery that Ned Benson brings to us in his new film, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her. Rather than simply showing the complex issues of a marriage from one character's point of view, Benson created two separate but united films — one told from the point of view of the husband, and the second from that of the wife. Not only does Benson tackle the issue of perspective — but he also weaves in the subject of memory. What might initially seem like continuity errors between the two halves are quickly revealed to have far more significance and ultimately tell an equally affecting tale. Some differences are subtle, while some are striking — but all showcase how our perspectives subjective, but so too are our memories.

At the beginning of the movie, the lively and upbeat Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) are in a quickly disintegrating marriage. What follows are the stories of how each of them got to where they are, as individuals and as a couple, and where they hope to go. McAvoy and Chastain have proved themselves to be brilliant actors in their own rights — and, if you can believe it, they're even more dynamic and captivating together. Their deep understanding of the story paired with their commitment to the roles and intense chemistry makes this story enthralling to watch from beginning to end.

The one aspect that may have made it harder for this exceptional film to get a wide release is its length. Since it's essentially two separate films, it has a running time of three hours and ten minutes — and not everyone has the patience required. To combat this challenge, The Globe and Mail notes there has been some talk of showing the films each on their own rather than as a combined unit. Although the performances are spectacular, the writing compelling, and the direction well done in each film, it seems to me that a lot of the brilliance of the film's structure would be lost without the two parts together. It's the clever balancing act between the two perspectives and the way they address how much we can trust our memories that make The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her so unique and captivating. If you were to take away the "Him and Her" in favour of one pronoun or the other, I feel you would lose a great deal of what makes the film special. It might be a longer haul as far as romantic dramas go, but I beg you to grab your popcorn — and a sizeable coffee if necessary — and settle in for the full three hours. This powerful and invigorating tale is worth the time.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Excellent study on memory and perception

Author: Joe Jodoin from Ontario
15 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this review I'm gonna make sure I say everything I didn't say in the previous review. First of all, I find that it becomes easier to find good things about this movie, and harder to find things wrong with this movie, the more i reflect upon the film. Also, I found that this half of the film was the weaker half.

Most of Her was great just like Him. The acting was spectacular (especially Viola Davis), and there was the same great writing and directing. I found that Her was slightly worse than Him, for a couple reasons. First of all, I thought Him was funnier, and I found that it had a bit better music. Secondly, I found that Him resolved it's subplots better, and had a more interesting main plot. My main problem with the film though, is that I watched it immediately after watching Him. This is a problem firstly because, I started to become bored three- quarters of the way into Her, but that's because I had been watching the film for 2 hours and 45 minuets.

Another interesting fact about the movie is that in Him, the husband seems to be in the right with the wife being in the wrong, and in Her, it is the other way around. This means that since I watched Him first, I liked Her a bit less. It could be very possible that if you watched Her first, you would like it better than Him. That point brings me to one of the best factors of the movie, which is even the scenes that were the same in each part, were different in each part. Think of this movie as two people going through a divorce. Him is the husband's side in the divorce, and Her is the wife's side. When the husband tells his story, he leaves out key pieces of information, lying by omission to make him self look better. When we hear the woman's side of the story, we hear about all the things that the man did wrong, but the woman also lies by omission to make herself look better. In the two parts of the film, when we do see scenes that are in both parts of the film, there are subtly changes in the dialogue, showing that there are two sides to every story, two perceptions to every event, and two truths in every situation.

Both parts of this movie are truly spectacular achievements in film making, and I feel sorry for you if you do not end up thinking this is a good movie. Again, I highly recommend watching both parts of the film in theaters, as it is an unforgettable experience. Both these films a strong individually, but even more so together, which makes it harder to give each film an individual rating. This is an 8.5/10 star film, that I am happy to have got to see at TIFF.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I am not the target audience for this kind of tripe.

Author: glowinthedarkscars from United States
16 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review is for both the HIM and HER versions of the movie. please note this is just one guy's opinion.. My friend who I watched the movie with loved it.. unfortunately, I did not have the same experience.


1. The acting, except for Jessica Chastain's performance, is good and all of the actors did their jobs well considering the script. Jess Weixler as the sister did exceptionally well for such a small part. She carried all the scenes in which she appears.

2. Sound and editing. I could hear and understand all of the dialog spoken. The transitions between scenes and the flow of the storytelling felt very natural.


1. The story & dialog felt very contrived & pretentious. A couple deals with the death of their infant son and their relationship breaks down afterward. This is the root of the story but the way these characters deal with such a tragedy is what I found to be so contrived.

For example: James McAvoy's Character Conor has a pet goldfish "Ralph" and it dies when his Dad accidentally overfeeds or feeds it the wrong food. The two men have a "heart to heart" talk during a walk to the river to dispose of Ralph's corpse, which is in a little cardboard box, by throwing it in the river. seriously, who would do that? would you do that?

another example is a scene where the two main characters are sitting on the sidewalk having a normal discussion about their relationship troubles which is only very odd considering the circumstances that one of them just got hit by a car and The Rescue personal which is clearly there for the whole discussion appear to be just standing around off screen waiting for them to finish the conversation before they load him into the ambulance.

There are many more moments like these and it may seem trivia and unimportant to some but for me it is this lack of attention to details that break the story.

2. The cinema photography is too dark in quite a few scenes and the soft blue color correction tint used is an interesting choice and will probably not be a problem for most people but i found it distracting. It took me out of the movie viewing experience just by the fact that I noticed it.

3. Jessica Chastain.. Her acting or her character in this movie rubbed me the wrong way.. i found it wooden. She was unable to emote in a believable manner.. I did not like or sympathize with her character at all but i am not sure whether it is her performance or the way her character is written.. maybe we are not suppose to like her and the fact that her character has difficulty expressing emotion could be intentional.. if so mission accomplished.

4.The relationship between the two main characters is strange from the beginning and why in the world the main guy would want to stay with a such a flaky, cold and emotional distant person is beyond me.

I watched both movies back to back. The HIM version first and then HER. I liked HIM better than HER but overall hated THEM both. Mediocrity at its best and a complete waste of time unless you are a film maker or screenwriter looking to learn from someone else's mistakes.

side note: watch THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST instead which also stars William Hurt and contains the very same subject matter of a couple that deals with the loss of their son and the break-up of their marriage.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Weirdly not as great as "Her" - maybe watch this first?

Author: Sergeant_Tibbs from Suffolk, England
24 December 2014

It's very odd how much The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her gets right that Him just can't measure up to. I'm not sure whether it's because I watched it second, but it's way more clumsily executed. While it does pay off a lot of things set up in Her (and I imagine it'll work vice versa) when it offers an alternate perspective on a scene, that's its only strength. Where Her approached sappiness with its insights on romance, Him too often breaches that mark. It's a more lightweight film, which comes with its own delights with Bill Hadar and that subplot, but moments which elicited tears in Her revisited here had little effect. I'm sure that's not a case of diminishing returns. McAvoy is reliably great, not quite as good as Chastain in Her, but again he bolsters the material. The problem with this portion of the pair is that it paints Eleanor Rigby in a very unappealing light, one I hadn't even considered with Her. Here, I don't see why he's chasing her so much. Nevertheless, Him is still a very good film for when it does hit the spot, just doesn't match its counterpart.


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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

In a nutshell, HIM, HER and THEM

Author: lasttimeisaw from Cairo, Egypt
5 March 2015

The sadness of being an incorrigible completist, I have to finish all these three films before writing my review, Ned Benson's ambitious feature-length debut is a post-trauma story of a young couple Conor (McAvoy) and Eleanor (Chastain) in New York after losing their child in an unspecified accident, HIM centres on Conor and HER centres on Eleanor in the same time period, then interweaves these two versions together, there arrives THEM, one can get an overall view of their paralleled life. So basically, I have watched the same movie twice, and certain scenes three times where the path of Conor and Eleanor converges.

The premise is soundingly intriguing, as often cornily referred as two separate cerebral hemispheres, the film allows viewers to observe how men and women think and act differently towards the same scenario, in this case, a heartbroken tragedy. In HIM, the movie starts with one of their most intimate memory before their bereavement, an inadvertent thrill in their ordinary life sparks strong romance with Conor amorously says: "There is only one heart in this body, please have mercy on me". Then it jumps to several months of the aftermath, Eleanor uses an extreme method to declare that their life can not sustain as the status quo, they need to take a break. Conor doesn't understand why she needs her alone-time for her grievance, he is equally heartbroken, but he is ready to move on, leaving the tragedy behind with a seal on it, not to mention and keeps living on afterwards. He opens a bar with his best friend Stuart (Hader) and a flirty barmaid Alexis (Arianda) who is ready to "falling in love with him madly if he allows her". Meanwhile his father Spencer (Hinds) owns a successful restaurant named after Conor's mother, whom he dumped ages ago, it is also a thorny decision for him whether or not to swallow his pride to admit failure and take the restaurant inasmuch as his bar is on the brink of bankrupt, it is a privileged struggle as a rich kid's blues.

In HER, no romantic prologue, Eleanor is introduced in her abrupt suicidal behaviour, then she returns to her bourgeoisie parents living in the suburb (played by Hurt and Huppert, he is a university professor and she is French), she goes back to the college and takes a class of professor Lillian Friedman (Davis), before long Conor finds out her whereabouts, stalks her in the street, in the classroom and eagerly to reconnect. As Hurt carefully phrases "Tragedy is a foreign country, we don't know how to talk to the natives", Conor's tentative makeup doesn't work, Eleanor needs to be over-indulged in the past for some time before finally moving forward, plus, she can spend all the time she wants in Paris, to heal her wounds, after a whimsical but failed reconnection during a pouring rain and a vis-a-vis opening-up in the middle of the night, it is rather tedious for her to realise that she should take a real break out of the Tri-state area. The disparity erected between each and every individuals cannot be compromised, only when they arrive in the same page with the same pace, they may have a chance to start anew as a couple.

As often as he can, Benson intends to throw snappy verbal rejoinders to sound posh or vivacious, but most of the time they are ill-placed ("Now YOU sound maternal" throwaway) and uninspired, as most of the dialogues verge on beating around the bush either without any substantial function or being painstakingly predictable. Yet the two leads is recommendable in any rate, so it is safe to say the film is perfect for McAvoy and Chastain's stalwarts, both set off a full gamut of emotional overhaul and not to mention many close-ups to let their fans luxuriate in the idolatry. Among the eclectic supporting cast, Huppert radiates in every scene simply by holding a glass of red wine in her hand, and Davis thrusts her raw gravitas into her casual bantering with her THE HELP (2010, 8/10) co- star, as an outsider, she is the one who pierces through the surface without any scruples, only if she could have more screen time in it.

The indie soundtrack is an understandable trapping of the prevalent mumblecore output, it's ambient, moody and meditative, tailor-made to outline the disposition of the storyline. Collectively speaking, the films attempt to be artistic and unique, it could have hit the bull- eye with all such a talented group, only if it could subtract the permeating tint of narcissism, and conjure up some more salient epiphany. At last, the THEM version abridges some minor sequences and merges HIM and HER with an intact take on the proceedings. There is no new scenes added, so one can choose to watch HIM and HER, or THEM, either is sufficiently competent to disclose its allure and drawbacks.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Real Life Heartbreak

Author: Thomas Drufke
9 February 2015

Hollywood has given us some of the greatest love stories ever told, but they don't always seem real. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him is just about as real of a story as you will get. Not only does it delve into problems that couples regularly have, but it gives us a sense of what it's like to try and overcome a tragedy close to home. It's not a film I recommend you watch as a "chick flick" or when you're in any sort of good mood. But if you are looking to be a little sad and perhaps wanting to see what it may be like to be in a difficult marriage this is the film for you.

The way these two films are told is extremely risky and experimental. I have not seen "Them" but I imagine the films were meant to be separate and not combined into one. "Him" gives us James McAvoy's perspective on the couples attempt to rekindle their relationship. I liked this side a lot more. I guess it could be because I was able to relate more to a man's view on a relationship rather than a woman's? Or maybe it was because this side just flows a little bit nicer. I definitely think this is the film you should watch first. McAvoy's character, Conor Ludlow, acts like any guy would act when his wife or significant other suddenly removes herself from his life. You just want answers, but relationships are never that simple. The film really seems to take the (500) Days of Summer approach of not promising anything clichéd or Hollywood like happening, rather giving their relationship a grounded realistic take.

There are quite a few moments of true romance. Lines like "Before you I didn't know who I was" come off as just heartbreaking knowing that this is the same for so many other couples. Love is something that doesn't come easily or without work. But I think if you truly love someone, in the end the effort and sacrifice is all worth it. It's a form of a love story sure, but it became more of a character story of overcoming tragedy and accepting that life does go on after. I would imagine it's something that seems unimaginable, but at the same time unavoidable. I really liked the way the film ended, especially with the music. Although I'm curious to see how they could have ended "Them" knowing they have to accommodate both sides.

+McAvoy's real performance

+Score & soundtrack

+Relatable real life relationship

-Can be too depressing at times


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Uncharted Territory

Author: Serge Atala from Beirut, Lebanon
1 February 2015

Honestly, I have never encountered a screening of such intensity and relativity to this day-to-day life and dogma governed charade.

What you as a viewer are about to encounter is a defiance against your deep down inner skeptical thoughts. For some, this might be perceived as an embodiment of pure heretics. But rest assure viewer, you might be a one who is objective in perspective, and ingest this screening as a wake-up call for what you are missing on in life, or... a certification for whatever life you lead with your significant other, for the latter I'm sure was not forced onto you but chosen, chosen by your true undeniable true tendencies.

Enjoy my dear viewer this piece of art from whatever display box you have at home.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Better half of a 2 part film

Author: Joe Jodoin from Ontario
15 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the first half of a 2-part movie, starring James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is actually 2 movies, one from the husband's perspective and one from the wife's perspective. I bought a ticket to see this film because it sounded like an interesting concept to see the same movie twice from different perspectives, and I figured I would get 2 movies for the price of one. I thought I knew what I was in for when I went to this movie, but it surprised me in many ways.

This review is obviously for the part told from the husband's perspective.The first thing that pleasantly surprised me was the music. The songs accompany the movie perfectly, and add to the emotional depth of the story. The script is also surprisingly funny, and occasionally hilarious. I was not expecting that, but it made both parts of the movie very watchable. I applaud Ned Benson's first feature-length script, and his directing was amazing too. I'm highly anticipating his next project. The acting was also perfect, and very realistic. Both the leads, and the supporting cast (mainly Bill Hader), were the perfect choices for their roles.

My main problem with the film, wasn't with this part exactly, but with the 190 minuet length of the two parts combined, although this is counteracted by the emotional depth that can be dug within over 3 hours of its run-time. Also, this isn't a movie that general audiences will like at all. I'm sure that most people will be very bored by this movie and absolutely hate it. If you like indie films though, this is a movie for you. I highly recommend seeing the movie in theaters, because it is so unique and interesting to watch. Another good thing is that this one part alone felt like a full length 2 hour movie (but is was only 95 minuets), so if you only want to watch one part, this part is still worth watching, but it wont have as much meaning as it would if you watched both parts. Overall this film deserves an 8.8/10 star rating, and please go see this movie in theaters next year to support all who were involved in the making of this film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Complex, unique film

Author: NateWatchesCoolMovies from Canada
7 October 2015

The Disppearance Of Eleanor Rigby (nothing to do with the Beatles song except a brief reference by a character) is a thoughtful, exceptionally well made film about a couple dealing with an immense tragedy that has put a weight on their relationship, forcing them to take some time apart. James Macavoy, an actor who continues to impress, and Jessica Chastain, always amazing, play the two with diligent feeling and palpable hurt. Now, there's three different edits of the film. His, which is mostly his side of events following the breakup, where Macavoy takes center stage and we see his life. Hers, which shows us where Chastain ends up, and how she is coping. The third version, Theirs, is a truncated version of both stories, leaving out a lot of key scenes and important beats. His and Hers together come out to about four hours of movie watching, but if you're going to invest yourself in their story, you owe it to you self to watch them both, starting with His. Because there is four hours of their story, they are allowed to develop and interact in a fashion that feels far more genuine and lifelike than a rushed two and a half hour movie. Macavoy is an aspiring cook who runs a small café with his friend and sous chef (Bill Hader, fiercely funny) and yearns for Chastain, angry at life for throwing them the curveball it did. He moves in with his father (Ciaran Hinds gives phenomenal work), a successful restauranteer. Chastain moves in with her folks as well, played by Isabelle Huppert and William Hurt. Hurt, who hasn't been around that much lately, makes up for that by anchoring a key scene with Chastain. It's interesting that he gets to play her father in a film, because they both share a measured, baleful, hypnotic grace in their work, and seeing them interacting was a treat for me, being an immense fan of both their work. Now, the film is more than the sum of its parts, but I mean that in a good way, since the parts themselves are so brilliantly done as well. It's what we expect from the romantic drama Avenue, but because we see an extended fluidity to the work, a narrative free from the fractured conventions of usual editing styles, we feel right there with our two protagonists, every step of the way. More films should break the mold and try to be more than just segmented movies, and use immersion techniques like this to draw us in. Coupled with that unique method of delivery comes a sincere commitment from actors and director alike, to explore an aspect of life and relationships that many see as unpleasant or upsetting, yet can still make for beautiful work. Well worth a watch.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not a compelling as Her

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
7 July 2015

This film tells the story of a couple who separates because of the overwhelming grief caused by the death of their son. The process of grief is told from the man's perspective.

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him" has a lot of footage not shown in "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them", which is a welcomed sign. The story concentrates on James McAvoy trying to get his wife back, the operation of his restaurant and his relationship with his father. Grief is not the emphasis of the plot, and as a result I think the story is not as compelling and captivating. As a standalone film it's good, but it lacks a certain sparkle when compared to "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her".

If you want to watch all three of the films, watch Him, then Her, then Them.

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