The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

All the lonely people, where do they all belong? For Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain), the damaged, ill-named figure at the heart of Ned Benson’s strikingly ambitious directorial debut, that’s a riddle not easily solved. Reeling from tragedy, Eleanor hacks off her hair, re-enrolls in college classes and uproots from downtown Manhattan to the Westport, Connecticut, home of her parents (William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert, both reliably excellent), all with nary a word to her bar-owner husband, Conor (James McAvoy). While she grieves through reinvention, Conor juggles multiple losses: searching for his AWOL wife, mending his relationship with his own father (a wry, scene-stealing Ciarán Hinds) and facing the closure of the East Village haunt he runs with his best friend (Bill Hader, for comic relief).

Originally conceived and shot as a two-part, three-hour epic in the 'Rashomon' vein – one feature following her perspective, the other – Benson shaved off a cool 68 minutes and distilled the companion pieces into this digestible, wide-release version. But despite the sparkling cast and engaging, well-tuned turns from Chastain and McAvoy, the scaled-down script doesn’t carry much weight, bogged down by clunky dialogue. The recut is light on flashbacks to Eleanor and Conor’s glory days, necessary to get a true sense of the title’s 'them' and grasp what has really disappeared. Benson’s efforts have turned 'Eleanor Rigby' into an accessible, garden-variety love story, and that’s its biggest problem.



Release details

Cast and crew

Ned Benson
Ned Benson
James McAvoy
Jessica Chastain
Ciarán Hinds
Viola Davis
Isabelle Huppert
William Hurt
Bill Hader
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