The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him (2013) Poster

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8/10
Him and Her – At their best when they're together
Julie Kinnear20 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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9/10
Excellent study on memory and perception
Joe Jodoin15 September 2013
Warning: 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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7/10
Weirdly not as great as "Her" - maybe watch this first?
Sergeant_Tibbs24 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.

7/10
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I am not the target audience for this kind of tripe.
glowinthedarkscars16 February 2015
Warning: 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.

THE GOOD:

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.

THE BAD:

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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6/10
In a nutshell, HIM, HER and THEM
lasttimeisaw5 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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Brilliantly acted, simply fantastic
Red_Identity9 December 2014
Saw this last night (I consider it one film, saw both parts back to back in that order). Such a lovely, touching film, and not at all what I expected when I first heard about the project. First off, I just want to say that I find the title really gimmicky and misleading. Okay, sure, it's technically not "wrong", but it just sounds like a lead-on for something it's not, such an easy way to grab audience's attention.

The basic plot point that leads to the whole film has been done before (Rabbit Hole did it just a few years ago) and the whole film isn't trying to be anything other than an honest, captivating look at two characters' lives and the way they deal with this tragedy. For some reason I thought it was going to be this really daring film. I was wrong and I knew almost immediately, but I didn't mind. The script is fantastic, and the two leads superb. McAvoy actually impresses more in Her, and as a whole he's not really in Chastain's level, but he has some really strong scenes and as of now I'd have him in my Top 10 for Lead Actor (and he's in my top 3 for Filth, which is a better performance but an inferior film in every way). What can I say about Chastain? Her best performance alongside Zero Dark Thirty, and may very well be even better for the fact that she's able to play a much more rounded character in terms of emotions. What I've always found incredibly impressive about her as an actress is that, not only is she technically impeccable in all her work to a fault like so many other acclaimed actresses are, but she's also able to inhabit a character fully to the point that her technicality doesn't feel like we're watching her at a distance emotionally. That's a problem I have with some actresses working right now. They can be great, yeah, but can also hit notes technically well while feeling too much like it's all for show at times. I've never had that problem with Chastain. Her work here is among the best of the year and it's a shame that neither her or the fantastic film she's in are even getting mentions from critic bodies. If its because of the stupid "Them" decision, then what a shame... but it's most likely not, and that's an even bigger shame
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5/10
Emotionally lacking
eddie_baggins8 June 2015
A frustrating chapter in the Eleanor Rigby saga, Him sees the focus laid almost solely onto James McAvoy's struggling bar/restaurant owner Conor as he tries to keep both his business and marriage to the inwardly tortured Eleanor afloat.

What frustrates most about Him is that it's always close to breaking into affecting territory yet is always bought down by a strange sense of distance between the audience and the characters and McAvoy's Conor never truly becomes someone where wholeheartedly invested in even though his by no means a bad person. Him paints Conor as the victim of a no doubt hard trial, a man who wants nothing more than his wife to love him once more and to have her back no matter the cost.

McAvoy's performance is up to his usual standards but there's little questioning we've seen him engage more in numerous other projects. Chastain is strong support but is barely sighted in the films 90 minute or so run time and the majority of backup is from Game of Thrones guest actor Ciaran Hinds and quality character actor Bill Hader. It would've been great for director Ned Bensen to allow us into the history and mindset of Conor more so, therefore getting more emotional punch from a film that as a standalone doesn't add up to a satisfying whole.

2 and a half customer chase downs out of 5
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8/10
Uncharted Territory
Serge Atala1 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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9/10
Better half of a 2 part film
Joe Jodoin15 September 2013
Warning: 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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8/10
Real Life Heartbreak
Thomas Drufke9 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

8.3/10
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3/10
Long and Boring......and Long!
reelscreenreviews13 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This 2-part double feature, character study, and drama is slated to be shown as two separate films, but at its world premiere I was shown both films as one continuous feature length film. "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" will open in the coming months and stars the on screen talents of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Ciaran Hinds, Bill Hader, Viola Davis, Jess Weixler, and William Hurt. This film comes to us from writer and director Ned Benson, and this is his first full length feature film after successfully bringing to life many short films.

Well people sometimes you talk about technical aspects of a film & I will talk about this film in such a manner, however sometimes you talk about a movie personally or how it struck you personally….and that's where I'm going to begin. This is the longest, most boring and pointless waste of time that I have come across in a good long while. To put it into perspective this is only a few moments shorter than "Titanic" or "Schindler's List", and either of those films could be considered a laugh-a-minute compared to this thing. You guys out there know that I never spoil movies but this is a spoiler-free review because nothing happens in this movie, which means that I couldn't spoil it if I even wanted to. All of the people in this movie just move from scene to scene where nothing is connected in such a way as to propel the narrative forward, and to put it in the simplest of terms if "Eleanor Rigby" was any more dull then I would've been watching real life.

In my opinion filmmaker Ned Benson violated the very first rule of why people plan to take time out of their day, why people put money aside for the multiplex, and why in most instances that people travel a good distance to a theater…they do all of these things because they want to be entertained. I'm going to tell you guys something right now, and all of the artsy fartsy people aren't going to be able to give me their character study bullshit about this movie because I have an answer for them. The answer is this. The two ladies behind me we're snoring most of the film, the guy sitting next to me was frequently bitching and moaning about how terrible this was to his wife, and I myself had to get up out of my seat & stand in the back of the theater for a few moments to avoid falling asleep myself. "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" was screened for us at 2:00 in the afternoon so I ask you, does this sound good to anyone? These are my true and honest experiences sitting at the world premiere, and I'm not going to change my position because most other critics agree to like this film.

I will say however after going through my notes that I will complement & give credit where credit is due. First the girl that portrays Chastain's sister is independent film queen Jess Weixler, and she is a brilliant breath of fresh air and a sign of hope during a duration of time that is anything but speedy. Her scenes with Chastain are probably the project's best, and Chastain is once again well above average. She's solidly founded in this character and I can sympathize with her, but at the same time she is such an indecisive and morose individual that you just want to give her a swift kick in the derrière and tell her to get over it! Make a decision….do something! On the flip side James McAvoy stood out to me as lighter and funnier than his counterpart. Even though McAvoy's Conor is anything but a perfect character, I did always feel like he was more of a victim than anyone else. Without question the project always plays to the favor of the Eleanor character, even though in my humble opinion she is a very flawed protagonist. Then I will concede that McAvoy's buddy played by Bill Hader was such a welcomed treat, and that's because without him and his humor everyone would have been snoring instead of just the two ladies behind me.

This writer and director crafts a quality looking picture, but fills it with a central heroine that just doesn't know what she wants. Boo-Freakin-Hoo, and welcome to the real world! There is her father, her mother, her sister, her professor, and most all her husband right off the top of my head that are all ready and willing to help this character, but the problem is that she just doesn't want it. Then I just couldn't get over how many times Eleanor would do something with no motivation or explanation, and this lead to more than a few unresolved conflicts.

At 3 hours and 15 minutes "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" felt so long that I actually thought that it was December when I came out. Boy I can't stress enough again how very lucky I was to attend the world premiere screening where I was able to see both parts of this "Character Study". You know because 1 hour and 35 minutes just wasn't enough enjoyment for 1 afternoon, no this guy had to pile on another 1 hour and 40 minutes just in case you couldn't get enough the first go-round. What really sucked more than anything was that out of the entire film festival this was by far the longest film that I saw, and was unfortunately one of the worst as well. At the end of this investment of time you truly have learned almost nothing new than when you began this journey over 3 hours previous. Nick's Reel Screen Review is a very dismal 1 star out of 4, and that is for the very dismal, slow, and un-entertaining "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby".
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6/10
Interesting combined with "Her" but alone it is too routine to recommend
secondtake11 April 2015
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby…Him (2013)

This is part of a two segment movie about a couple recovering from tragedy (losing a young child) told from the point of view of the mother and father separately. Like "Her," this one is mostly about the protagonist, with some key elements from the relationship unravelling. And like "Her" there is very little about the grieving or the actual tragedy. We are supposed to be dropped into their lives long enough later to be in their individual recoveries.

The father here is James McAvoy, and he's good, but he doesn't have the intensity and range of Jessica Chastain, who carries the "Her" movie so well. The supporting cast is thinner here, too—Viola Davis makes only a tangential appearance, and there is little of Isabelle Hupert and none of William Hurt, who both make "Her" rather special. So here we have the somewhat clichéd "friends at a bar" as McAvoy's clan, and it's nothing much.

It's tough to judge all of this because I saw "Her" first and so the plot itself was new to me then, and here it is simply the retelling of the same story. So what was most interesting of all was the re-telling of the overlapping sections, seeing the events from different eyes. This wasn't pushed hard, which is fine (this is no "Rashoman"), and so it just makes the pair of movies gel.

Beware of the third movie, however—which has the suffix: "Them." I haven't see it (and won't), but it is apparently a mash of the first two, a shortened single version that apparently lacks the potentially probing aspects of the two halves seen singley or together. The two separate movies are sometimes shown or released as a marathon version that is not the same as the shortened, combined Them. So see one of the two single versions and go from there.

Advice: "Him" alone is not as satisfying as "Her," for commons reasons like the depth of acting as well as the range of characters. Chastain's version is better by far, but if you do see "Her" first, I think "Him" adds another layer that is satisfying, and not redundant except in just the right moments.
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7/10
"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him" - Existentialism in Pursuit of Love-Lost
Tanay Chaudhari2 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering." —Nicole Krauss, "The History of Love"

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him" seems like an intermediary phase in the stories of – Conor(James McAvoy) and Eleanor(Jessica Chastain) - where quite is left to be answered.

Based on the "Them" version, and in pursuit to know the subjective sides, where they try to reclaim their love and lives in the aftermath of a mutual-tragedy, the male-perspective evolves into Conor being utterly perplexed about their status as a married-couple for been left high-and-dry by the grieving Eleanor, who "kept on walking away" from their painful past. Conor's life been vacated by the death of their infant-son and Eleanor leaving him to apparently "try a different version of herself", all he wished for was "some time to talk it out" before she "disappeared-off to wherever it was she disappeared to", clearly trying to get hold of the present through the past.

A little redundancy flows in instances, between this separated couple (not really 'estranged', with unbinding love), due to which, the film raised naturally a lot of doubts about the nature, the causes and the future of Conor and Eleanor's relationship – which could perhaps be best defined on the lines of "existentialism", marked by "a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently absurd world" (in this case – a meaningful, yet worthless seeming world in the lives of the protagonists where no sense of belongingness was able to be attained) - the apparent reason when on occasions Eleanor wished to be "(at) someplace good" with Conor, who "went soft" in his ever growing longing for her.

Even though, their falling lives couldn't find a ground till the time they do really move away from each other and starting again on different notes – Eleanor going-off (to a French university to study anthropology) and Conor joining his not-so-loved father's (Ciarin Hinds) restaurant business and being present-orienting with his chef-friend Stuart (Bill Hader) and kittenish co-worker Alexis (Nina Arianda) – reaching a point where he could stop regretting his past, and hoping that Eleanor does so too.

However, as once William Shakespeare said about not all love-stories have their – "Journeys end in lovers' meeting" – so does this one. However, a surreptitious hint towards a confluence could be seen in its culmination; worthy of the efforts put in while watching the three-parts of this trilogy.

Though, one must pay heed to the order – "Them", "Him" and "Her" - to gain a momentum of understanding of a larger picture, in this intricately and meticulously written film by Director Ned Benson.

Verdict – A different film-viewing experience, with the subjectivity based versions and a rare on-screen chemistry between McAvoy and Chastain.

Rating – 7/10
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7/10
An Interesting Concept and Perspective On A Relationship
Ethan Middleton25 June 2015
One thing that I do like about this film is that when this movie does show scenes where the characters are in love with each other, it's very well done. At least the performances are. When these two are in a scene together, you can get a good vibe of what they're feeling. It could be them in love, depressed, scared, or anything that involves emotion. This movie does focus on the emotion of James McAvoy.

It's not just the emotion however. You do know very well that McAvoy is still in love, he cares, and the movie does focus on that, but it also focuses on his work job. That may not seem like it is interesting, but it does add a bit more to what McAvoy's character is dealing with, because it's not going completely well with his work space either.

The title of the movie is a good one. It seems like it came from a novel you would find somebody reading at a coffee store, but it is an original title and film. This movie does a decent job on it. Chastain isn't in this movie that much, you are curious where she is when she's not involved in the story. When she does show up, you question what her motivation is to why we're seeing her, and part of the fun is that we have to see the other film to see her motivations and other stuff.

My few complaints about this film is that the concept of this story does seem interesting, however it isn't a very compelling story. Like I said, part of it is because we don't know what Chastain's character is thinking, but nothing really grabs you unless it's a scene with McAvoy and Chastain together.

Which leads me to a specific scene involved with them. Now I'm not going to spoil it because spoilers are no fun. We really don't know what the real reason is why these two split up and when the movie does reveal why, it gives a bigger impact on how the characters reacted when they're together, which to me, makes those scenes a tiny bit more enjoyable.

Also without spoiling anything about the ending, it was very abrupt. I'm pretty sure there is more to it when you see the Her film, but that ending really seemed unnecessary.

The concept of the story is being told is interesting. But when it only focuses on James McAvoy's character, the movie isn't the most entertaining and compelling thing. Yet it when McAvoy and Chastain share the screen, it gets interesting because you can feel their emotions and those scenes with them are well done and compelling, especially one scene that is a big part of the story. The ending may make more sense if both films are scene, but Him is a decent movie that might be even more enjoyable once Her is watched.
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Not a compelling as Her
Gordon-117 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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6/10
"All The Lonely People"
IngmarTheBergman14 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
My full review can be found on "The Cinematic Conquest", a website.

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her" isn't nearly as innovative as it seems to believe it is. When I read the basic plot description, I figured it could either be a masterpiece, or an exercise in pseudo-intellectual cinema. Somewhat to my surprise, "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her", falls into neither category. The film doesn't approach 'masterpiece' status, and for the most part, it never comes across as pretentious. Where director Ned Benson succeeded is in his casting, but where he experienced major fault is through his dialogue and misinterpreting the emotional capacity of what he'd written.

"Would you still love me if I didn't have enough money to pay for dinner?", Conner asks his will-be wife, the ill-named Eleanor Rigby. They soon find themselves running down the sidewalk, escaping the manager. It becomes apparent that we are witnessing a moment in the life of a couple who are genuinely in love. We fast forward several years later, and their relationship is no longer as simple to define. After losing their beloved one-year old child, and a suicide attempt on behalf of Eleanor, they find themselves separated. The film(s) chronicle the perspective of the two characters and the events they experience while apart from each other. In the end, it's a testament of the relationship between a man and a woman.

Jessica Chastain has quickly risen to the top actresses in the past two years. In selecting a wide variety of roles, Chastain is proving her talent, and creating a promising future for herself. "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her" is simply another strong step in proving her talent to audiences. Her neurotic character is easily the strongest part of the film. James McAvoy is also strong in this film, yet his character seems as though he was given a little less to work with. It must have been difficult for McAvoy considering his character is very plain and simple, whereas the character of Eleanor is more of an enigma, that we explore later on in the film. Nonetheless, McAvoy gives a good performance - yet not a great one. The supporting cast was another highlight of the film. "SNL" comedian, Bill Hader gives a chance to prove he's more than a comedy actor, a chance most people in his field aren't given. His character felt very natural, as Conner's best friend. Viola Davis is the female version of Hader's character, as she befriends Rigby. Davis delivers yet another clever performance in this film, yet, she does lack a little bit of gravity which would have transformed her role in "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her" from being 'funny' to being 'funny' and 'moving'. Ciaran Hinds is decent within this film, yet a great deal of his dialogue is overly sappy, that I found it fairly difficult to take him seriously. Although his performance was fine, it was difficult to separate his acting from the character's dialogue, so ultimately, I wasn't too fond of his performance in the film. Isabelle Huppert is an incredibly versatile actress. It's astonishing to compare her utterly frightening role in Haneke's "The Piano Teacher" to her role as the caring mother of Eleanor Rigby in this film. Although her character wasn't the most essential to the film, I think it merited a fair bit within the details. However, in the supporting cast, the greatest performance went without a doubt to William Hurt, who plays the role of Eleanor's father. We only see him in "Her", and for a majority of that, his performance is very subtle, until the end when it becomes vital to the thematic portion of the film, and the ending. He delivers a small scene which shines very brightly, establishing him as a very powerful actor (not that we don't already know this).

During a great deal of "Him" I was struck by how ridiculously melodramatic a lot of the dialogue came across as. The scene between Eleanor and Conner felt highly unnatural, and I was highly disappointed. Luckily, either the dialogue improved - or I subconsciously adjusted (although I highly doubt that). No matter what it was, it certainly interfered with my enjoyment of "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her".

The overall innovation of the plot line, is much slimmer than I'd expected. For one, the plot is stretched out for longer than it needed to be. It should have been one film, with a little cut out. As well, the details separating the two perspective is incredibly subtle - but nonetheless, meaningless. We have sit through sequences we've already watched (although Benson did use separate takes and separate angles - which was not a good choice in my opinion). I could understand using different angles, to capture how the other person would see the situation, but because of the different takes, the lines were occasionally different. As well, the idea behind the 'two perspectives' was used somewhat stupidly during some parts of the films. The repeat scenes were used so some of the lines were reversed from the other version of the scene. For example, if in one scene in "Him" Conner had said "I'm sorry", when we see in "Her", Eleanor might have said "I'm sorry", instead of Conner. Fairly pointless use of what could have a genuinely innovative concept.

Overall, "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her" is a film that should be seen for its great performances, yet all in all, it's not a breath of fresh cinema, as I had hoped.
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8/10
Complex, unique film
NateWatchesCoolMovies7 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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8/10
If "Having your cake and eating it three . . . "
Edgar Allan Pooh18 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
. . . doesn't make much sense, neither do any of the three versions of THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY (namely, THEM, HER, and this HIM). The third time is NOT always the charm (but HIM rates the best score, as it's much shorter than THEM or HER). If quantity equaled quality, there would be three versions of HEAVEN'S GATE, ISHTAR, and PLUTO NASH, making them hallowed screen classics. The final credits for each of this pretentious RIGBY trio of features list the standard functionaries of "film editor," "script supervisor," and "writer\director." Therefore, what excuse can there be for daring each audience member to slog through five and a half hours (or 325 minutes, to be exact!) of RIGBY raw footage to stitch together an individually unique 75 minutes worth of semi-passable material in the mind's eye? (It's no easier to make a silk purse from three sows' ears--or 325--than it would be to pull off the miracle from just one!) Though it may seem like it from this hash of things, the Rigby cast ain't exactly chopped liver. Finally, while there may be just "50 ways to leave your lover," there's probably more than 100 theories as to how and why Cody died. While Pre-natal Twizzler poisoning and John Lennon's Curse sound tempting to me, my money's on a case of terminal boredom (from being around Conor and Eleanor two whole months, after learning myself what 325 minutes with them does to a person!).
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