THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HER

★★★

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Charlie David Page
5th June 2014

We all know the gamut of emotions that comes with a relationship: from the honeymoon period through to a generally fizzled end. 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Her' forms one perspective of two viewpoints on the same story - that of Eleanor herself - as we fast-forward through the romance and head straight for the trauma and heartbreak.

This female-oriented tale presumes a lot of its audience - this 'Memento' without amnesia drops us straight into the dilemma of the situation, then works backwards to figure out why we're there to begin with. This is assisted heavily by the work of Jessica Chastain, once again brilliant in her on-screen role, with James McAvoy (understandably) taking a back seat. What we do know from the outset is that Eleanor is a troubled woman, with a tormented past. We know things started off pleasantly, but how did they get to this point? This film is about the slow unravelling of these secrets.

It's also worth pointing out the brilliance of the scene-stealing Viola Davis, who plays Eleanor's teacher and mentor, Professor Lillian Friedman. She brings lighter moments to her role, with a deep-rooted cynicism and sarcasm scattered throughout other the dramatic moments in Eleanor's life.

It's a fascinating idea, splitting a story into two perspectives, which makes it difficult to judge this film on its own. Without a doubt, there is more to be revealed when James McAvoy takes centre stage as Conor in 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Him'. Nonetheless, as an isolated film, 'Her' is and intriguing yet slow-moving affair. It's a work of pregnant pauses and dramatic moments, brought to the screen by characters not entirely certain of where their lives are heading. While it's nice to see a tale of love without the Hollywood rom-com treatment, this film certainly requires its counterpart to fill in the missing pieces of this jigsaw puzzle.

This film is about the slow unravelling of secrets.

'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Her' will next screen at the Sydney Film Festival on Sunday the 8th of June 2014 at 8:10pm. 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Him' screens on Friday the 13th of June at 6:30pm and Saturday the 14th June at 9:20pm.

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