Ned Benson‘s London Film Festival version of his three – parts movie The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Him, Her, Them) is the result of this strong and natural human condition: him + her = them.
One story, two points of view: him, Conor (an heartbreaking and extraordinary James McAvoy) and her, his wife Eleanor (the stunning Jessica Chastain in one of her best performance) are a couple who try to pick up the pieces of a past that seems gone forever.
The movie runs and jumps between the two points of view. Sometimes it’s a little bit hard to associate the side of the story we are watching to the right character but sometimes all it’s really clear because their path through their new life is so different that the distance seems unbridgeable.
They knew the real happiness and the deep true love. Now Eleanor is recovering a suicide attempt at her parents’ house and Conor is a ghost. In the middle: a tragedy.
But The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is not just an analysis about the different ways a man and a woman can react if caught by the same tragedy. The movie is also an analysis (albeit minor) about the relations with their own families. Especially the one between mother and daughter (Eleanor and her not really maternal mum but also Eleanor and her NYU teacher, an amazing Viola Davis). And between father and son (Conan and his father guilty of abandoning him). Both these relationships are marked by contrasts and promises missed.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a movie that leaves, at the exit from the cinema, several question marks and missed answers. The bigger question concerns the final. When we asked Benson, on the red carpet at the London premiere of Them, if this final could not be equal for all to demonstrate that indeed there is a he, that is different from a her and that both are different from “a them”, the director answered: “Exactly and not only. Everyone has items to figure out in their case which will be the ending. For someone the walk will end in a way, for others in another, for others in yet another. It was fitting that a film about diversity had a finale different for everyone. I wanted each one chose his own. In mine they are destined to be united again, but not for everyone will be like this as well”.
And as Conor and Eleanor have lost a bit of their own to become Them; maybe even the work of Benson has lost a little bit of freshness present in Him and Her to become Them; losing intensity and showing a pain never really felt.
“If you walk away from things, you start a new history of walks away”
Watch our James McAvoy interview on the red carpet on our YouTube canal.