Review: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Her)

Those of you who read my review on the first part of ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’ (Him), may be a little confused to hear what follows. This film wasn’t merely more bearable but, I actually enjoyed it. Luckily for me, it was not the painstaking hour and a half that the last was.

I was preparing myself for disappointment yet again but was pleasantly surprised by the upbeat characters despite undertones of negativity and sad themes. Part of the reason why I preferred this film was due to the colourful array of characters. Unlike in ‘Him’ the characters were not just two dimensional structures for the protagonist to whine to, they had some real depth. Viola Davis’ portrayal of a cynically comical professor was wonderful, adding some light heartedness to the otherwise more sombre mix. Similarly Eleanor’s sister evoked some laughter, which the previous film was severely lacking.

A primary feature in the success of this film has to be the scarceness of McAvoy’s  character. Perhaps this is why I found Eleanor a little more likeable. The relationship between her and her sister balanced out the cold character conveyed previously. Another pleasing, albeit insignificant, event was the discovery of Eleanor’s name. Beatles fans among us will know that Eleanor Rigby is a song by them, so the little anecdote regarding that was a bonus.

Much of my disappointment at the last film came from the extreme dreariness of Conor, which none of his friends seemed to address. However I felt more inclined to liking Eleanor in this as she didn’t seem so self-pitying. Refreshingly, when she was her family and friends weren’t afraid of picking her up on it.

Not unexpectedly the viewer is more inclined to sympathise with Rigby, not only because her thought processes are made clear, but it appears as though she reverts to some childlike state. Throughout the film you can’t help but be captivated by her fragility. After her loss she seems to be just a young woman lost in the humble-jumble of life.

Strangely her story feels far less depressing, despite having endured the same tragic event as her partner. There is a tone of nostalgia, conveyed through flashbacks, as opposed to a tone of dull depression. These short memories act as an insight into the once happy lives of Eleanor and Conor and offer the viewer a greater understanding of their present day behaviour.

I’ll overlook the slight differences between parallel scenes within the films, hoping that they were an attempt to highlight the difference in perspective and memory. Although to me it was still a little annoying.

Ultimately this is a film about young love; how it can dry you out and you can fall into the cracks. Now if you can stomach the hour and a half of hell that is, ‘Him’, then this is really worth a watch.

Unfortunately the ending was still left unresolved, so looks like I’m going to have to watch ‘Them’ in order to be satisfied…


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