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James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Viola Davis star in this innovative two-part film that relates a love story from two different perspectives.
Every story has two sides. The unprecedented
cinematic event The Disappearance
of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her sets out to
prove just that in this quietly realized, heartwrenching
drama from director Ned Benson.
Following a horrific tragedy, the enviable
marriage between Conor (James McAvoy),
a restaurant owner, and Eleanor (Jessica
Chastain), a returning college student, begins
to fall apart. With each day worse than the
last, their connection starts deteriorating,
until one day Eleanor just disappears....
Benson presents his protagonists' experience
comprehensively in two separate,
feature-length chapters. While it's essential
to see both parts — a total run-time of
three hours — to experience the complete
picture, each chapter has its own unique
tone, appropriate to its corresponding
piece of the puzzle. Part mystery, part
emotional drama, Him tells the story of a
befuddled man longing to reconnect with
his estranged wife. On the other hand, Her
is a character study about a woman trying
to reinvent herself.
Aided by a terrific supporting cast —
Ciarán Hinds, Bill Hader, Viola Davis,
Jess Weixler, William Hurt and Isabelle
Huppert — The Disappearance of Eleanor
Rigby: Him and Her packs a strong
emotional punch. Vivid cinematography
and a dry, honest wit perfectly accent the
top-notch acting skills of Chastain and
McAvoy, both in fine form here. Evoking
the long-term effects of loss, and raising
questions important to anyone attempting
a lasting relationship, Benson's feature
debut is personal, layered and insightful —
from all perspectives.
This work in progress is designed to be
viewed as episodes in any sequence, and
will also be screened at the Festival in
reverse order as Her and Him on Tuesday, September 10.
- Ned Benson
- Ned Benson grew up in New York
City and studied English at Columbia
University. He has directed the short
films Four Lean Hounds (03), The
Westerner (10), and Yes (10). The
Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him
and Her (13) is his debut feature.