The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby – Review
Starring one of my favorite actors Jessica Chastain, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” is lot less a story about a couple simply being in love and more of a focused story on the heavier and weightier aspects of being a couple in a relationship. And in this film we get to examine them thoroughly as if we’re looking with the meticulous intricate detail of a tiny organism under a microscope. Watching and observing the subtle nuance and dynamics that makes them unique, especially when they have to conspicuously and emotionally navigate mutual heartache to order to save that relationship. The story is made even more compelling when those typical matters of money, infidelity and abuse are not the explanation of why this relationship is terribly broken.
In the very first scene in the film we see Eleanor (Chastain) and her lover Conor (James McAvoy) out one evening in a restaurant being unabashedly flirtation with one another. They are a giddy and frolicking type of young couple as they remind themselves with kisses and touching how much they truly love each other, how enamored they are with each other and how passionate they are for each other. At that moment their life seems to be great and the world is their oyster.
But in very short order the next day we see a more somber looking Eleanor walking across a large suspension bridge with her bike in hand and without missing a stride she drops the bike to scale the metal security fence to take a leap off the tall bridge into the waters below. And while it’s clear Eleanor tried to commit suicide we are left to ponder why? What suffering came to her so quickly since he night before to have her make such a grim emotional choice?
Eleanor obviously physically survives but she is also emotionally transformed as well as she makes it clear to a concerned and loving Conor she wants nothing to do with him now. It’s here where the films proceeds to take us down a slow peeling path to finding out exactly why such a vibrant woman would want to end her life and end what appeared to be true love.
The performances are uniformly strong in Rigby and some scenes are heartfelt and powerful, but what is missing is any empathy. I wanted desperately at some point to care why Eleanor was in so much pain. I wanted Conor to figure out a way – any way of winning back her love and trust. And while Chastain and McAvoy did a great job in executing their roles in this film, the written material they were working with felt and sound less believable with each passing scene. Its only to the very end of the film do we find out why Rigby jumped, but by then it was like wading through 2 hours of way too much over affected dialogue to make too many esoteric obscure points that ultimately did not give me any real reason to care.
“Rigby” could have been a really great film but instead it was like watching an ensemble of great actors attempting to be more somber and depressing than the other. I kept waiting for someone to breathe just a bit of normal vitality life into this film, so much so that at one point I began to wonder if the movie could had been a better effort if Eleanor had actually died in the beginning.
Again “Rigby” is very well acted, but it’s totally emotionless with way too much despondency and unhappiness that in the end did not entertain me very much at all.
Denmark is a country that ranks highest in terms of suicide rates, mental illness and depression. Watching, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” I wondered if this film shed an untended light on what the world would look like if the Danes took rule of the world.
2 – 3/4 Stars