The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Three Movies in One

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Three Movies in One

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is an upcoming film directed and written by Ned Benson who up until this point has only written and directed a few shorts.  It stars Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Lawless, Coriolanus), James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Last King of Scotland, Wanted), William Hurt (Into the Wild, The Incredible Hulk), Viola Davis (The Help, Prisoners, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), and Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs).  It chronicles the love story of Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) from meeting and well into their marriage.  The central conflict of this film revolves around the disappearance of Eleanor (see what they did there…)  after a fight.

On the surface, this seems like your run of the mill romantic drama.  Boy falls in love with girl, girl falls in love with boy, they fight, they break-up, and they get back together. However, you have to look outside of the story to see why this film is truly unique.  When you search for this film on IMDB, you find there are three films that appear, respectively labeled Him, Her, and Them.  What Ned Benson did was create a three part film experience, or really an experiment.  He filmed it at first as a two part film series, Him and Her.  Each film covered the same story however, each film was filmed from the perspective of each respective person.  As you can see from the trailer above, they shot many of the same scenes but emphasis was placed differently depending on whose perspective we are seeing in the movie.  After both films debuted at the Toronto film festival he went back to the cutting room and re cut the two films into one, which later debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.  All three versions of the film received rave reviews at their respective festivals.

This kind of film style has never been done before and is especially ambitious for a directors debut.  What Ned Benson has done here is  remove the objectiveness within film.  The audience is no longer seeing the film an objective standpoint.  Instead, the film goes into the minds of the main characters, applying their bias and perspectives to the scenes.  This style of applying the bias of the narrator(s) isn’t unheard of.  A great example is Shutter Island, where throughout the course of the film you start see a few hints that the narrator can’t be fully trusted, which made apparent by inconsistencies in the story.  Eleanor Rigby simply takes this idea to a new level.

Needless to say, this film is shaping up to be an interesting experiment in film making and could very well be a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Peter Orrestad - Jul 2, 2014 | Film Thoughts

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