In this the version of the story from Eleanor's point of view, we get drop wise clues of possible reasons why Eleanor has left a marriage that by most accounts seemed happy. She doesn't know who she is in life or where she is going, but her somewhat reticent friendship with a female professor, who as most of us has problems of her own, helps pave the way for Eleanor to connect with the pain and the feelings she has suppressed. Tragedy is what drove Eleanor away. The couple lost a baby that wasn't expected but was welcomed nonetheless. She put her studies aside when she got pregnant...And him? He is trying to win her back but doesn't know the right words to make it all better.
It was an emotional experience watching the chemistry among the characters in this movie. Eleanor's parents look broken; they seem to be having a crisis of their own likely triggered by the mother's regrets for having jumped into family life leaving her career as an artist by the roadside. The mother projects her failure onto Eleanor, who is unwillingly repeating her mistakes. Eleanor also has an awkward relationship with her sister because the sister is a mother. Eleanor's quasi therapy sessions with her female professor are eventually what lead her to figure out she just can't keep running, for her family and her husband have experienced a loss as well.
It is always a pleasure to watch Jessica Chastain, because she becomes the characters she portrays. In the role of Eleanor, Chastain has an opportunity to shine and she doesn't disappoint. Her chemistry with James McAvoy is off the charts. Her interaction with Viola Davis (a cast mate in The Help)--in the role of professor Friedman-- starts tense and evolves into a sharing of secrets that helps not only Eleanor to find her way but finally helps the audience to figure out the puzzle that is Eleanor Rigby.
Cast:Jessica Chastain (Eleanor Rigby), James McAvoy (Conor, Eleanor's husband), Viola Davis (Professor Lillian Friedman), William Hurt (Julian, Eleanor's father), Isabelle Huppert (Mary, Eleanor's mother), Bill Hader (Stuart, Conor's best friend)