Whatever the original intent, "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them" is a fairly massive bore.

This despite Jessica Chastain's glowing presence, despite some nice but going-nowhere banter between Chastain and Viola Davis as a college professor, despite the ongoing pleasures of William Hurt's staggered delivery and the natural charm of James McAvoy. Some of the pieces may be fine, but the whole feels curiously empty.

This film apparently started out as two films: "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her" and "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him," each of which was told from the point of view of one half of a married couple enduring a tragedy, break-up and consequent struggles. These were the feature debuts of writer-director Ned Benson.

Then the films were bought and somebody apparently decided to blend the two for a more commercially viable product. Thus "Them."

Chastain plays Eleanor Rigby (her parents were Beatles fans), living back at home after a wonderful marriage to Conor Ludlow (McAvoy) was turned sour by tragedy. For most of the film this tragedy is amorphous and its circumstances never do get specific, but it's a constant weight.

Eleanor is taking some college classes, Conor is running a restaurant with his best friend (Bill Hader). He's still in love with her, she's massively messed up, he does some light stalking, she's slightly encouraging, he falls into bed with another woman, she becomes outraged and the tragedy still hangs over everything.

Aside from going nowhere in particular and taking a seeming eternity to get there, the film hinges on a question mark — what happened? — that's so nebulous it has little dramatic value. This is a movie about two miserable people. Watch it and you'll make three.

'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them'


Rated R for language and sexuality

Running time: 122 minutes

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