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By Charlie David Page
14th June 2014

In one of the most intriguing film concepts of the past decade, 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby' aims to tell the same story of a relationship and its ensuing break-up from two differing viewpoints, as the subject of two separate movies. The real question is, is there really enough varying perspective in a relationship's demise to make this a worthy attempt?

The short answer is no. What could have been really special and revelatory is, instead, left in the realm of the mundane. There is not substantial material to give the films that something special they so desperately needed (and is clearly why it's being theatrically released in many countries as the single film 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them'). Although I did feel that 'Him' was a better film overall than 'Her', it still doesn't give the audience the opportunity to learn anything more than we already had in the latter. It's retreading too much similar ground, without varying the viewpoint enough to keep things interesting.

As mentioned, 'Him' does come off as the more complex of the pair, largely for the scenes between our heartbroken hero, James McAvoy, and his distanced father, Ciarán Hinds. There are also some worthy moments between McAvoy's character and his best friend, played by Bill Hader. But what makes this film that little brighter is that we get to see some of the happiness of the relationship. It's not just implied or insinuated, but actually shown, and this makes a huge difference. For the first time, you get a glimpse of what the relationship in freefall is truly about, and finally allows a flicker of empathy for the couple.

Again, this isn't beautiful, graceful or artistic filmmaking - if anything, it's almost doco style, following Conor as he follows (and later confronts) Eleanor around New York City. It seems the gimmick is just that - there's no revelation to be found here, just one more couple facing hurdles they are inevitably unable to overcome.

RELEASE DATE: 12/03/2015
CAST: Jessica Chastain
James McAvoy
Bill Hader
Viola Davis
Isabelle Huppert
Ciarán Hinds
Nina Arianda
Jess Weixler
William Hurt
Ryan Eggold
PRODUCERS: Cassandra Kulukundis
Jessica Chastain
Ned Benson
Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights. 
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