The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2014)

This is a single film that is also a series. It's not done in the way that The Lord of the Rings or a trilogy like that would be done, though. Instead, all three movies cover the exact same time frame and center around the same basic people, but they shift perspective. The first film is Him, then it's Her, and then there is the poor man's version called Them.

One thing I noticed about all of the films is the heavily artsy way they do everything (well, everything but the camera shots - they look like they were done by a team of guys who normally shoot sitcoms). It's just as well, because the editing was done by a monkey. Still, the thing that would draw you into these movies is the stupid, nothing scenes that should have never been written or filmed or allowed into the movie. They are the stupid, nothing scenes where nothing really happens, they don't forward the plot, and yet the characters are more alive and more relatable during these scenes than when something important is happening (thank you, acting).

Him (2014)

Told from the perspective of James McAvoy. We see him romance the young Jessica Chastain and try to run his failing restaurant. He is flanked by his chef, played by the unexpected serious role version of Bill Hader, and his aloof and unemotional father, played by the enigmatic Ciarán Hinds. James struggles with the futility of his life and essentially feels like a flag flapping in the breeze after Jessica disappears from his life with a simple message saying goodbye.

So, he plods along, directionless and hoping that his life has some kind of meaning for a while, and the occasional brush with Jessica kind of strings him along, and he doesn't know how to be the man he wants to be anymore. There's a lot of introspection and quite a bit of audience insight required to get to his underlying motivations, but that at least keeps audience interest up and running during the long silences and awkward scenes.

His father's lame attempts to reconnect, a seemingly meaningless fling, and the unimportant relationship drama between his employees keep the movie going even when they don't keep the story moving. His encounters with Jessica are jolts in the story that make her seem flighty and almost otherworldly. Her natural beauty and alabaster skin just further that alien nature of her, so the audience never really understands her motivations, they just see the havoc she unleashes by acting on them.

Her (2014)

The things she never tells him are the things she should be screaming. It's clear that the reason their relationship fell was because she felt like there wasn't any communication between them after a significant and tragic event, but she only blames him for that. He clearly has walked through life oblivious to the communication problem, and she has her own internal issues that prevent her from telling him about them. So, while she recognizes the communications issues, she doesn't recognize that she is also responsible.

The fact is, the Him movie was just plain better than this one. He was at least relatable, but she comes off as a woman who makes rash decisions and judges other people about as often as she can. She is an impossible to please and clingy little girl who lacks the maturity to improve her situation, but she also believes a lack of maturity is what she has come to dislike in James.

Them (2014)

What a hunk of crap this is. Normally, the third movie is a difficult one to pull off, as Transformers, The Dark Knight, and loads of others would demonstrate. Now try a third movie that was never intended to exist. This movie was created, presumably, because the producers realized that they would have a larger audience for their duology if they put out a hybrid of the two movies - one that had both points of view like a regular movie would. Well, they took all of the specialness out of the movie by doing it, and they made me view the movie as if it lacked the one thing that made me like Him.

Instead, I am forced to admit that this is a pretty lousy story with decent enough dialog, but it should never have been put to film. They would have been better off just releasing Him to theaters and leaving Her as a movie that ardent fans could go try and find. Them should never have existed, and it muddies the artistic waters of the other two.

Direction was good
Story was okay
Dialog was okay
Acting was very, very good
Studio decisions were bad

Bottom Line: If you want to see one of them, see Him. It's the one worth watching.

2.25/5

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