Chastain's 'Eleanor Rigby' explores intricacies of eroding marriage

Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:42pm EDT
 
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A desperate man tries to connect with his isolated, suicidal wife in a complex, detailed and intimate look at an eroding marriage, as a first-time director attempts to layer both the male and female perspectives of a relationship.

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, is an intricate study of a crumbling marriage, an amalgamation of two earlier films that explored the relationship from the male and female characters.

"Eleanor Rigby: Him" and "Eleanor Rigby: Her" will also be released by the Weinstein Co in theaters on a limited run.

"Them," written and directed by 37-year-old filmmaker Ned Benson, follows young New York couple Eleanor and Connor, played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, as they find themselves being pulled apart by tough circumstances.

As Connor desperately tries to reconnect with Eleanor, she tries to overcome her trauma, which is gradually unveiled throughout the film, by disappearing into a new personality.

"I've discovered women want to eradicate their history, completely pretend it didn't happen because it's far too painful, and men want to fix it," Chastain said of Eleanor's transformation. "If someone reminds her of (the trauma), she's going to kill herself. She wants to be able to move forward."

For Benson, "Eleanor Rigby" started a decade ago when he wrote the script for "Him" at age 27 and took it to his long-time friend Chastain to play Eleanor.

Chastain, 37, described the character as "very cold, inaccessible and mysterious, kind of the idea of the girl who got away or the girl you can't get over."   Continued...

 
Cast members Jessica Chastain (L) and James McAvoy pose during a photocall for the film "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" in competition for the category "Un Certain Regard" at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 18, 2014.      REUTERS/Eric Gaillard