New Writer and Director on the Scene, Ned Benson, brings to life his tragic tale of love and loss with his new film THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY.
As we are thrown into the tumultuous love affair of Conor Ludlow (James McAvoy) and Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain), and things would appear to be moving along splendidly, when, out of the blue things go left, as Eleanor is attempting suicide via drowning, and when saved, decides to leave her husband of seven years, to return home to her family to regroup…….Say what?
Eleanor doesn’t seem to be finding her way at home either, even though she is surrounded by her mother Mary (Issabelle Huppert), her father Julian (William Hurt) and her sister Katy (Jess Weixler), who happens to have her own little boy.
As a suggestion in getting out of the house, and doing something she loves, Eleanor’s father suggests she attend classes at the local University as a way to regroup. Eleanor sets out to enter a closed class being presented by Professor Friedman (Viola Davis), one of her father’s colleagues. Professor Friedman isn’t going to make it easy on Eleanor either, but decides in the end to let her into class. When Conor realizes that Eleanor is out and about and taking classes, he attends Prof. Friedman class, passing a note to get her attention (yeah, that’s pretty old school and I like it! J), as she bolts from the class, trying to get away from Conor yet again.
Poor Conor is heart-broken and distraught at the way his wife is handling her grief and the demise of their marriage, but continues to try to hold on to some semblance of normalcy, which at the time is focusing on the restaurant that he has just opened, with the help of his head Chef and best friend Stuart (Bill Hader). As Eleanor continues to push Conor away, he acts upon the advances of his new waitress, only to feel remorse for his actions and longing for his wife to return so they can grieve their loss together……
Will Eleanor be able to regain her life and her sanity through this tragic event in her life? Will Conor be able to convince Eleanor to return to their life and try to make a go of it again? Or will the loss of their son be too much for Eleanor to handle now, or EVER?
I give THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY A C: Even though I absolutely love Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, this film just seemed to go on, and on, and on, without any resolution or purpose. The premise of this film – intense love and the most tragic loss I can ever imagine…the loss of a child, – which don’t get me wrong, it should definitely have its time to play out on screen – but this film just seemed to linger in the abyss of Eleanor not being able to come to conclusion of what she wanted to do about anything turbulent in her life. Chastain gives a good performance, and so does McAvoy, but you just wanted to shout ENOUGH ALREADY! My God, what are you going to do???? I did however love that Chastain’s real life best friend, Jess Weixler, plays her sister in this film – as you can see their real life friendship for one another surface on the screen as they interact. William Hurt does a great job too with his small, but significant role, and Viola Davis’s professor role as the woman who doesn’t have the greatest views on her own experiences with motherhood, and who, just like Eleanor, is in search of what might bring joy to her own life, but she too, doesn’t have a clue! Ned Benson actually developed a Trilogy of this storyling, explaining things from both Eleanor and Conor’s perspective individually too, but I think The Weinstein company may only have wanted to spring for the complete story…..which left lots of wholes i this story that never really get filled up. I am also a sucker for a movie with great dialogue, and was expecting this to be the case with THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY, but it didn’t even have enough of that to keep me pacified while viewing, and, may I just say, I hate nothing more than bad endings…..and the ending of this film didn’t make me jump for joy either….SORRY NED ….