Friday, January 16, 2015

All the lonely people

After eating a box of chocolate truffles dipped in glitter in an effort to cure my not-feeling-well mood, and after remembering that last night I practically devoured 3 doughnuts with cream filling inside the super-market, cause there was no way I could wait to pay for them first, Eleanor Rigby came on my mind. Not specifically her, but all the lonely people who walk in the city and pretend to be too busy even to smile to the person they just crossed, while in reality they would love to drink a coffee or a beer with someone. But, not just anyone, and that's where the problem (if you can call it a problem) lies. 

Lonely people are in fact a bit too selective. They are fond of their memories, and they are sentimental. They find it hard to attach, and even harder to detach. They cherish imaginary friends and relationships, and keep a place in their heart for those who are no longer around. They are maybe introverts or just highly sensitive or just deeply hurt. Or nothing from all the above -I won't pretend I have the key to human psyche. 

I know that in this particular case, Eleanor Rigby is deeply hurt indeed. Profoundly sad and lonely she is, only because she felt the ultimate bliss, only because she knew how it is to be in love with the one. Until things went sour. Jessica Chastain is the redhead in the poster and the disappearing girl in the title. Her other half on screen for this set of films is James McAvoy. They are both brilliant -some of those actors whose performance is rarely questioned, just because they seem so natural in everyone's shoes. Why did I say "set of films"? If you're wondering, you probably haven't heard that newcomer Ned Benson had the poignant idea to shoot two films with the same title, and the exact same story, only different. One is from the point of view of the guy, the other is from the point of the view of the lady, that's why we have The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him (2013) and  The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her (2013). 

I have watched both films back to back, which is the right thing to do, after all, to notice similarities and differences.  Giving credit to popular belief that men and women have a totally different point of view  and react in a different way to the same situations (or else Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus), Benson decided not only to include new, unknown parts of each characters' story in each film, but also to have the actors give a slightly different performance in the same scene from one film to the other, whether it is for the tone of voice, facial expression or even the words they decided to use. How does it feel when each party feels that it's the other one to blame?

That's exactly what Benson is trying to portray, as memories of the same events and how they rolled out differ considerably when Eleanor is telling her story from when Conor takes the lead. Both films are adding pieces to the puzzle of a torn relationship and individual suffering, and there is even a third version, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (2014), which is the result of editing the two points of view together. We have an open ending in both films, so let's hope for a sequel. Or we can make up our preferred ending, which is a legitimate thing to do in the times of the death of the author.

Special mention to the second redhead in the film, who plays Eleanor's mother, the melancholic Isabelle Huppert, to Viola Davis and to stunning Jess Weixler -once upon a time the vagina dentata girl in Teeth (2007). Great photography, hand-picked costumes and songs and a set of films that makes you thing that when Lana del Rey sings "sometimes love is not enough/and the road gets tough/I don't know why", she knows what she's talking about. She probably does.

* But, what about Eleanor Rigby? And what is the connection with lonely people, you're about to ask. Just listen to The Beatles and hopefully they have the answer for you. 

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