Ned Benson (Director/Writer) creates a unique view on how trauma can have an impact on a marriage through The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Benson used two perspectives to retell the same story of a husband, Conor (James McAvoy) and his wife Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) after the death of their baby.
After attempting suicide, Eleanor moves back to her childhood home in an attempt to hide from her husband. She is comforted by her educated wealthy father (William Hurt), her aristocratic alcoholic mother (Isabelle Huppert) and her younger sister (Jess Weixler) and her little nephew. It’s obvious that Eleanor is depressed, lifeless and very cold inside. In a different light, we see the happy-go-lucky Conor trying to upkeep his bar and apartment. He comes across as happy on the outside. However, it’s obvious that he is very hurt inside as he searches for his wife. Conor leans on his father (Ciaran Hinds) and his best friend (Bill Hader) for help. The first few scenes portray the separate lives of Eleanor and Conor before showing flashbacks of their used to be love/happiness. The two eventually meet us again and try to work out their marriage in an attempt to renew their love for each other.
The differences in the cinematography and art design in the “His and Her” perspective amplify the emotions felt by the characters. Her perspective is cold and mysterious. She lacks life and joy but somehow there is a tinge of hope in her eyes. He has life in him, yet he is searching for his the love of his life. He respects his wife’s wishes and tries not to stalk her but he can’t help but attempt to sweep his wife off her feet once again.
The film has an interesting driving force, but it leaves a lot of unnecessary unanswered questions that leave the viewer in suspense throughout the film. The performances from the entire cast are excellent. If you’re a sucker for love stories then this film is for you.