I liked Ned Benson's debut “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” the edited version of which I caught up with a Cannes last month — but not as much as I liked Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy in it. I haven't seen the two-film version of the project that debuted in Toronto, but I sensed something had been lost in its condensation into one feature.
Shorn of its “he said, she said” device, by which each film told the story of a break-up from a different partner's perspective, it plays as a touching but not especially distinctive relationship drama. The “Him” and “Her” films will continue to exist, of course, and will receive limited theatrical distribution alongside the “Them” edit — I look forward to seeing both at some point.
The performances, however, are pretty special in any context. Jessica Chastain is a particular marvel, locating wounded reason, pride and vulnerability in a character who isn't outwardly sympathetic. It's hard to say at this point how The Weinstein Company will arrange their awards slate, but she's more than deserving of a Best Actress push. McAvoy seems a little less favored by the new edit, but goes right for the heart anyway. I'm keen to see the other half of each performance, as it were.
Anyway, a trailer debuted yesterday: it's still selling the “two sides to every story” angle, and gives a fair indication of the film's emotional tenor. Watch it above and tell us what you think.