May 17, 2014
“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” Cannes Reviews
In The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

We didn’t have – yet – a red carpet appearance on Cannes, but a screening of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them was made already and we can read some reviews about it. It makes me happy that every single review is praising Jessica’s performance. You can read some reviews on the original sites, but be sure to avoid them if you don’t want to read spoilers. It has a few…

Chastain is terrific as the barbed, brittle Eleanor.
The Guardian

Even in this shortened version, every cast member gets a chance to shine, so it’s little wonder that Benson was able to attract such a cast: he’s written everyone a little showcase that lets them flex their muscles, and from legends like Hurt and Huppert to an against-the-grain choice like Hader, everyone impresses. Davis in particular seems to relish her role, and gives one of her most impressive turns.

But the film really belongs to McAvoy and Chastain, who do close to career-best work here: the former masks his pain with a jokey boyishness, the latter becoming increasingly sharp and furious, drowning under her grief. The film’s never better when they’re sharing the screen.
The Playlist

More committed audiences would do well to invest in the whole shebang when the full two-part film finds limited art house release later in the fall, and enjoy the intense and engaging performances from Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy that bring the well-written screenplay to life.
(…)Chastain and McAvoy are highly expressive but also quite different actors, and it’s sometimes a bit difficult to imagine her anthropology student and his foodie businessman so passionately in love. Chastain brings an edgy nervousness to the role that can verge on the irritating, while McAvoy is out-going and as lovable as a teddy bear; as Eleanor remarks, “He went soft and I stayed hard.” It’s an interesting gender reversal and one Benson explores thoroughly in the longer version. The final scene is truly affecting.
The Hollywood Reporter

But it is a pleasure to see Chastain back on screen again. This is the first that we’ve seen of her since early 2013’s dreadful horror flick Mama, and her work in Eleanor Rigby is a reminder of what a luminous actress she can be. She doesn’t so much hold the camera as envelop it with an aura that’s somehow both warm and melancholy, tender and yet a little sharp. Her role, as the wounded, restless Eleanor of the title, was written for her by her Juilliard school chum Benson, and it suits her sensibilities perfectly.
Vanity Fair

Chastain, who also is a producer on the project, is simply exquisite. There are only a handful of actresses who could have pulled this character off and Chastain clearly demonstrates she’s one of them. Even though some might find Eleanor’s character selfish in her actions Chastain find a balance that wears her depression well. She never plays Eleanor as incapable or overburdened. Instead, Eleanor is just trying to look in the mirror (a recurring theme) and discover who she really is at this point in her life. There is an incredible scene toward the end of the film where Eleanor breaks down in front of Connor that many will label an “Oscar reel moment.” Such recognition would be genuinely deserved.