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
'All I want is a chance to just talk it out. After that you can disappear to wherever it is you disappear to.'
Ned Benson both wrote and directed this little quiet film – an amalgamation of two separate films 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Her' and 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Him'. Each premiered in 2013 as two films at the Toronto Film Festival. After the premiere, although it received rave reviews, Ned Benson started cutting the movie again, as a one feature. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (2014) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. All three movies received a theatrical release.
The story is elusive, dealing with internal issues as to why a happy marriage dissolves. Perhaps (and this is not said outright) the marriage crumbled with the death of their little boy (no details of when or how are given, just obtuse references), but what ever the reason, the summary sates a woman and man seemingly so in love finds their marriage is shaken to the core when life throws them a devastating curve. Now this New York couple must try to understand each other as they cope with loss and attempt to reclaim the life and love they once had.
The cast is loaded with stars – Eleanor Rigby is beautifully off center as played by Jessica Chastain and she is matched by her husband Conor played by James McAvoy. But the supporting cast (all in very small roles) offers Eleanor's parents portrayed by Isabelle Huppert (who has some of the best lines - 'I didn't know I could retrieve all the opportunities I threw away then.' - and William Hurt, Conor's father by Ciarán Hinds, Viola Davis as a snarky professor, Ryan Eggold as a would-be paramour for Eleanor, Jess Weixler as Eleanor's sister, and Nina Arianda as Conor's paramour, and more.
The story is fragile and perhaps too much so, as the line of relating the tale runs into alleyways of nothing too frequently. It is as though a very fine editor could have tightened this up and made it stronger. Certainly as far as a cast is concerned it is top drawer: it just drags around far too slowly to stay very interested. The DVD comes with a second disc for the 'Her' and 'Him' version, but after over two hours of 'Them', viewing that may merit watching on another evening. Very mixed feelings.
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