**INDIE FILM REVIEW** “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”

Ok…it’s now 1:36am in the morning, evening, whatever…lol.  I ALMOST went to bed, seeing as I SHOULD be getting up by 5:55am, but I figured that I really needed to get this other review posted while everything is still fresh in my growing tired by the minute mind.  Without any more ado, I give you…..”The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby   SEE THE TRAILER HERE

Written & directed by Ned Benson, the film initially brings us into the lives of a young couple, Conor Ludlow (James McAvoy) and Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain), as they are finishing an evening meal in a New York City restaurant, which is apparently a venue beyond their respective means, given the particular outcome of the whole scene. But ultimately, it is made clear how much in love the two of them are, and it seems life is going smoothly for both of them as their relationship has grown.  Then the story jumps ahead an undermined amount of time where a near-tragic choice on Eleanor’s part sets in motion a story still revolving around the pair….except something has broken them up, and it is in the aftermath of unknown circumstances to us, that things unfold.  Eleanor has chosen to go home and live with her parents Julian (William Hurt) and Mary (Isabelle Huppert) along her sister Katy (Jess Weixler).  Feeling like she has failed and still having a sense of needed isolation, Eleanor chooses to go back to school at a local New York City university where she ultimately befriends (and to some extent makes a sounding board out of, or is it actually the other way around) her class’ professor, Professor Friedman (Viola Davis), whom we find know Eleanor’s father who has also been a professor and practicing psychologist.  In the meantime, Conor has been throwing himself into work via a small bar he owns with a best friend Stuart (Bill Hader), who also initially insists on trying to give Conor advice about the whole situation with Eleanor, whom has basically disappeared in that Conor has had NO luck in contacting her.  We also see Conor has chosen to move in with his father Spencer (Ciaran Hinds), who while being a successful restaurateur, does NOT come in handy when giving out advise to his son either in regard to relationships, having had 3 wives of his own who all left.  But, after Stuart has a chance meeting on the street with Eleanor of which he ultimately tells Conor about, Conor sets out to try and re-connect with Eleanor, even though this proves not only difficult, but VERY unnerving to Eleanor once he DOES get a hold of her in the most importune place, though the beginnings of the encounter are actually quite humorous. As the story unfolds, both of them deal with the struggles of prying and/or “judgmental” family, the pain of separation, each coping in their own ways, but always seem to be drawn back to each other.  These moments, even when together, often have undesired consequences, but it is through THIS that we find there has been a deep tragedy which affected them both and THAT is really at the root of their issues.  Once this becomes more evident, circumstances keep the two spiraling towards each other, even when making other choices that they THINK are the answer, but really aren’t.  Choices get made, and the need for reconciliation, forgiveness, the real connection of love they share still, and the realization of the support give to them by friends and family becomes paramount, even as they wonder if they can EVER get back to the place they were…..which was someplace good.  When  final choices are made, there is an interesting conclusion to the whole thing that left me very satisfied.  Any further details…it’s SPOILER land…so no further shall this part of the review go.

I have stated it multiple times before and I will state it again….so often, the beauty of independent films is that they TRULY provide a chance for actors/actresses to ACT because the story REQUIRES the characters to actually CARRY the story, to engage the viewer, and draw us into the drama that is unfolding.  And I feel this was especially true for this movie, as it is a his view of things/her view of things kind of tale that ultimately shows us both sides and what brings them together, but also what keeps them apart. Now, in many respects, this is a SLOW burn (a literal runtime of just over 2 hours), so it will NOT be a film for everyone by any means.  That said, I was perfectly impressed with Jessica Chastain especially and her portrayal of Eleanor.  And it didn’t require a constant barrage of HUGELY emotional scenes in and of themselves…it was actually the subtlety of Chastain’s delivery often that leant itself best in bringing out the emotional struggles being dealt with and how those emotions would sometimes get the better of Eleanor, but other times save her from wrong choices. And Chastain brings this all out convincingly and with a quiet urgency that just sucks you in.  And I must say I was mildly surprised at McAvoy, who likewise successfully delivers a solid performance that illustrates a man in serious conflict over wanting to give Eleanor her space, yet longing so much to BE with her again.  The themes of separation, anger, resentment combines with the longing for forgiveness, closeness, and being loved are all brought about in this story.  The supporting cast was very solid as well, especially given vets like Davis and Hurt. It’s a character study in total, and a journey of two people who are wanting to be made whole again, even when they are not sure it can truly happen, much less when even those closest to them are trying to “fix” them more than either would desire.  Yet, in the midst of THAT, Eleanor especially revels in moments occurring with her family to give her strength.  This, again, will NOT be a film for all, as it did take some patience to let things unfold as they did, but for me, Chastain is an amazing actress and I was most glad to get the chance to see her shine.  A worth indie release for sure.

As always, this is all for YOUR consideration and comment.  Until next time (assuming I don’t lapse into a sleep-deprived coma at work tomorrow…or TODAY based on when you’re viewing this) thank you for reading!

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