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 Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was originally intended as a movie to be focused on a man's perspective as his wife disappeared out of his life. When writer-director Ned Benson brought star Jessica Chastain on, she asked him about Eleanor's perspective and he was so enraptured with this question that he wrote an entire version of the movie dedicated to her view point of the marriage. The two films were shot simultaneously, but times and audiences being what they are, the distributor cut a third version of the film so that audiences could experience the whole thing in one go.
As someone who has seen all three versions of the films (his, her and them) I can tell you this is a mistake. The best way to experience the film is by watching some combination of the Him & Her versions (pick your poison, watching either one first has its benefits and drawbacks, although "Him" does start earlier in the timeline than "Her").
The problem with Them is that it reveals that Rigby is actually a very simplistic movie. It's the story of married couple Connor Ludlow (James McAvoy) and Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain) whose marriage has suffered a devastating blow. Rigby tries to kill herself and when she is unsuccessful she leaves her husband and the two begin separate journeys of discovery. The joy in the Him & Her versions is seeing the different ways the two people experience the same event. Rigby and Ludlow both disappear from each other's narratives for long periods of time posing questions about certain events, questions that get answered when you watch whichever of the two movies you choose to watch first. There's also a handful of scenes that are the same in both stories but the tone and information conveyed is different, showing how people can interpret things differently. All the joy of this is wiped out of the Them version in which everything plays chronologically and we don't get multiple versions of the same scenes.
It's an okay movie, but it will leave you wondering what the fuss is all about.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this