The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a film that tells a story in a truly innovative way.
The film stars dynamic duo James Mcavoy and Jessica Chastain, who play off each other so well in their respective roles, as they attempt to revive what was once a sustainable and loving relationship after a tragic loss.
You may be asking yourself why you’ve never heard of it? I stumbled across it back in the day when the era of going to a store to rent a DVD was coming to a close. I took a browse at the cover and thought the concept was interesting so I gave it a chance.
Incredible. I don’t want to make it sound better than it is, but it’s still incredible.
The story itself is raw and heartbreaking yet the story structure is what makes this film truly unique. Told from two perspectives; Him and Her: two completely separate films.
What sets it apart from other stories, which might involve telling the same story from different points of view (ie. LOST, Vantage Point, anything with Matthew Fox in it), is that it isn’t simply the same story from different angles, it’s completely unique perspectives as if they might be told as a distant memory with subtle details changing.
They each have their own visual styles. Him has a colour pallet consisting of blues and cooler tones, whereas Her is more a bland yet softer yellowish.
Him is told chronologically. Her has constant flashbacks, which subtly gives us an insight into the way each of them think.
I felt I was able to gain more of an understanding of just how differently our brains function from each other. I feel if anyone who was struggling in any relationship were to watch it they would empathise with the other party and understand better what might actually be going on behind the scenes.
Not only does each film depict quite accurately how each of them may tell a story in a different way, they even manage to change some subtle details based on how they might think or perceive their situation:
- Some scenes involve the characters wearing different costumes to the same scene from the other story.
- The conversation might sway in favour towards one or the other depending on whose movie it is.
- The endings are even different. Same, same … but different. You just have to watch it.
Somewhat of a disappointment however:
You may find it difficult to actually access these two separate movies. A year after their release the two were cut together to make one single 2 hour version. After watching the Them cut I felt it a shame to see certain parts of the story missing and found it to become nothing more than any other story about the struggles of a relationship.
What gave it its own unique personality was lost to make way for an ‘OK’ film. Thankfully, I was able to find the two separate versions available on iTunes.
Just be aware if you’re looking to watch this film, make sure you watch the two separate versions one after the other. The cut together version isn’t terrible but it loses most of what makes it what it is.
I would recommend watching Him then Her, and not the other way round. I’ve seen them in both orders and I don’t want to give too much away but I can say the story is about her, I found this order made more sense story wise.
If you can get your hands on this gem I recommend it. It’s worth experiencing something as unique as it is creative like The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.