Jessica Chastain in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her (2014)

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Given how underwhelming 2014 is for Oscar nominees, I’ve started to look into alternate movies/performances. So let’s begin with Queen Jessica!

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her is an okay film, which I found perfectly watchable and interesting. I appreciated its simplicity and honesty, and I thought it was an interesting project, but as a whole I’m not too engaged by it. I’m not really into all these realistic broken romance movies nowadays, other than for the performances. In other words, I don’t think I’ll rush to watch the other 2 movies. That being said, I thought Viola Davis and Isabelle Huppert gave really great supporting performances in their brief roles, and I thought that they were better than all three supporting actress nominees that I’ve seen. I also like Bill Hader from SNL so it’s nice to see him in an incredibly brief performance.

Jessica Chastain is one of the best actresses working today, in my opinion, and I find it so strange that the Academy decided to just ignore her this year. 2014 was such a great year for her, and I was so sure that she was going to be nominated for A Most Violent Year (which I hear she’s better than all the actual nominees). I felt so bad for her when she was snubbed, and I could tell from her tweet that she was disappointed, even though she didn’t say so. I really enjoy her clear and intelligent acting style, that strikes a perfect balance between being calculated and natural. She’s even my pick for 2012 best actress (close one between her and Jlaw, whom I loved SORRY!)

In a way, Eleanor Rigby is the typical heartbroken female lead who becomes depressed after the failure of her marriage. Interestingly enough, Chastain plays the character in such a way that she isn’t moping around and self-destructive. There’s always this dark cloud hovering over her, and she’s tense and cold towards everybody around her. Even though she’s trying to pick up the pieces of her life, she’s also visibly in a daze, and clearly has no idea what she’s doing. The character is more towards the introverted side, so she doesn’t talk much, but Chastain’s presence is always interesting and you want to find out more about her.

As the film progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that Eleanor is unable to let go of her past. Chastain doesn’t play her as the dumb wife who simply can’t let go of her husband. She’s clearly an intelligent woman who still has feelings for her husband but has lost control of her own emotions. There are a few fantastically acted moments that are really impressive, such as when she freaks out of a one night stand with some stranger, and the final scene where she says that she can’t remember how her baby looked like. Eleanor can come off as abrasive and hostile, but thanks to Chastain, we constantly feel for her.

Overall, Jessica Chastain as Eleanor RIgby is haunting and heartbreaking. It starts off a bit slow at first, and while I wouldn’t call it amazing, I still loved her work here a lot. A really great performance by a great actress!

4.5/5

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