Following the death of their only offspring, an infant son named Cody, married New Yorkers Conor Ludlow and Eleanor Rigby - a struggling restaurateur and an academic working on her Ph.D. in Anthropology before Cody arrived in their lives - hit a rough spot in their relationship. Although still loving Conor, El is uncertain if she can bear what Conor represents to her and bear the grief even if Conor is no longer in her life. Following an incident, El decides to disappear from Conor's life, she taking refuge at the suburban home of her parents Julian and Mary Rigby, an academic himself and a musician respectively. Just to keep her mind active and off the thought of Conor or Cody, Julian suggests to El that she return to college and he pulls some strings for El possibly to enter into his colleague Professor Lilian Friedman's class. Despite being a therapist himself, he also tries to get El to see a therapist to deal with her grief. Meanwhile, Conor is facing his own emotional and ...Written by
The Lucky One
Written by 'Tomas Costanza', 'Jacquelyn Willard', 'Ashley Levy', 'Niki Schiveley' and 'Mike London'
Performed by 'Jacquelyn Willard'
Courtesy of Killingsworth Recording Company See more »
A Great Approach and Objective, with a Sloppy Execution
Yesterday, I went to see The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby for a pre-release screening by Louisiana International Film Festival. As the directorial debut for Ned Benson, this movie stars James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain as a young married couple that eventually crumbles. It is a combination of three short films: Him, told from the perspective of James McAvoy's character, Connor, Her, told from the perspective of Jessica Chastain's character, Eleanor, and Them, which features their relationship.
Truth be told, I wanted to like this movie a lot more. Some of the parts were very intriguing, and then some other parts were like watching paint dry. The romantic scenes with both of them together were the most interesting and fascinating. Their chemistry together was great, and their connection was felt and natural. With the two separate perspectives, however, I was drifting in and out. At one point, I even dozed off. Both perspectives were unbalanced, as I felt like there were more parts with Eleanor than there were with Connor. Or at least, I got more out of Eleanor than Connor. From Connor's side, it was a decent tale, but there wasn't a lot of his story coming out, and it wasn't very exciting or interesting, even with the addition of Stuart (Bill Hader). Eleanor's side was a lot more dominant, and it was a mixed bag. It provided more interest, thanks to the subplot with Eleanor and her sister Katy (Jess Weixler). At the same time, some of that was repelling. The actions and behaviors that I got came across as redundant, childish and stand-offish. In other words, the subplot has a yin and a yang.
The approach that Ned Benson took was very original and rare. He built a full-length story out of three short films that all tie in together. It's a very inventive approach, and someday, there's going to be a filmmaker out there that gets it 100% right. Sadly, for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, the narrative structure felt disoriented. As a whole, the movie was lost in translation. The objective was understandable, which was to showcase how they fell in love and where the marriage fell apart, but it was tough to interpret that from beginning to end. Pulp Fiction is one of many examples that pull off a great movie with a non-linear narrative. This movie was nowhere near that level, but it did a good job in its efforts. Also, there were more things that I felt needed to be elaborated on. The story was lacking a lot of things that would've carried out the premise successfully. Instead, it only felt somewhat unfulfilled.
If I can separate those short films and judge them by themselves, they would've been very successful. They are very genuine stories, they had some almost superb acting performances, and their intentions were very smart. In my personal opinion, taking these three short films and merging them to create a 2-hour movie resulted in a jumbled narrative. The objective of the story got lost in the shuffle, the plan went halfway, or maybe too many ways, and in the end, there was some emptiness left inside. Not just for our two lead characters, but also for the viewer that went in with high expectations. Perhaps, they needed to be combined in order to tell the same story, but it would've been better off as a side-by-side collection of short films, or at least it should've been given a better structure. Yet, this was the movie that I ended up getting, which was OK overall, but I expected more. Eh, it happens.
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