Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain) does disappear in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, but that’s not necessarily the film’s focus: Ned Benson’s directorial debut is instead a look at how a couple (Chastain and James McAvoy) grieves after a shared tragedy and what happens to their relationship in the process.
Benson wrote the first script 10 years ago and gave it to Chastain to take a look. She pointed out major holes in Eleanor’s story, so Benson took action by writing another script focusing on Eleanor’s point of view that would later be called Her. Now, the film exists in three parts: Her, Him, and Them. While Her and Him detail the individual perspectives of the two spouses, Them combines their experiences into one film.
The films are about love and relationships, but they’re also about loss and how differently we all deal with life’s obstacles. “I didn’t just want to make another relationship movie,” Benson tells EW. “I wanted to show the difficulties of love and how we endure through those difficulties. And I wanted to be as hopeful as possible.”