TORONTO: ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’ Has Two Parts Brilliance with Critics!

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disappearnce_of_eleanor_rigbyOne of the films I’ve eagerly awaited for the past 12 months is Ned Benson’s two-part film on the decline of a relationship.  Benson’s film, which screened as one film at TIFF as “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her,” stars the great and underrated James McAvoy and the beautiful and talented Jessica Chastain.  In many ways, the film sounded like a hybrid of Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine” but from two perspectives.  Something I can definitely get on board with.

The film(s) screened at Toronto yesterday and earlier this afternoon with lots of praise coming through.  However, the film still doesn’t have distribution and is not scheduled for a 2013 release yet.  There’s no telling if the film will get picked up and at this point I can only imagine that the two-film selling point is confusing for marketing executives.  How will they campaign the film for awards and for box office numbers?  Will they play both films back to back and run as a single film, or will they pull a “Kill Bill” style and place one of the stories for consideration this year and moving the other for next season?

Some of the great words that are pouring in are for its stars as well as supporting players Viola Davis and Ciaran Hinds.

Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter is a fan:

The eternal mystery of love, its ebb and flow, its comedy and drama, has long been a favorite subject of literature and, in its Manhattan variety, of Woody Allen films. There’s certainly a literary feeling behind the seriously if coyly titled The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her. Ned Benson’s accomplished first feature describes the break-up of a marriage first through the eyes of the young husband, then the wife’s, in two semi-autonomous parts each lasting an hour and a half. Intense and engaging perfs from Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy bring the well-written screenplay to life. The only obstacle to its release as the ideal date movie is the film’s three-hour running time, which makes itself felt the second time the same story comes around.

Adriana Floridia of Movie Mezzanine is over the moon:

Director/writer Ned Benson is a truly original talent that everyone needs to keep their eye on. It is absolutely astounding that this is his first feature, as he has crafted something so beautiful, poetic, and profound that many filmmakers spend their whole lives trying to achieve. Every element of this film is magical, and what it says about relationships and the individuals that find themselves lost within them is something that everyone can relate to. Playing upon perspective in the way that Benson, McAvoy and Chastain do, this film will make you reevaluate the way you see your own life and own relationships, remind us that we all have our own stories.

Grade: A

Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter brings the “Blue Valentine” reference:

Eleanor Rigby is not unlike the great film Blue Valentine (2010), in the sense that we see a relationship come together and fall apart within one sitting. But, whereas a man might be predisposed to relate to and sympathize with the man in that film, or a woman with the woman, it is much harder to fall back upon our own experiences and biases in this film because, regardless of the order in which you watch its two parts, you feel more understanding of and empathetic toward the character whose part you are watching than you do toward the other. As Atticus Finch famously says in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” This film offers you that chance.

Nikola Grozdanovic of The Playlist gives it praise:

You’d think that with all the sappy romantic comedies that exist, “When Harry Met Sally” and Richard Linklater’s ‘Before…’ series (just to name the most beloved), that relationship films have run their course and said all they’ve got to say. But then this year the Palme D’Or was awarded to a film that deals with the evolution of a single relationship in a potent and tender way, and while many talked about the importance of the film in terms of sexual politics, this reviewer looked at “Blue is the Warmest Color” more as a remarkably well made relationship film. Now it has some serious competition.

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