The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her (2013) Poster

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8/10
A tender film about the pain of moving on.
Sergeant_Tibbs24 December 2014
It's always great when festival films can hold onto that excitement even over a year from their premiere. Perhaps that magic comes from the intrigue in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby's conceit. The content of the film is nothing new, just approached in a special way. A couple drift apart due to an unspeakable tragedy and try to make sense of the world. Sprinkled with introspective insights and anchored by terrific performances, it's truly bolstered through its enigma. Now I decided to watch Her first, arguably the more acclaimed of the pair, at least for Jessica Chastain. Although the director states that the films can be watched in any order, the premiere started with Him and in hindsight perhaps it offers key context that I should've dived into first, but I quite prefer the way I watched it even though the latter suffered.

Knowing that it has a counterpart film gives Her an enigma and the film is enchanting, benefiting from a sparing use of James McAvoy. This is the Chastain show and she's the best I've seen her so far. Sometimes it teeters on being quirky for the sake of quirkiness the way indie movies do, but its subversive way it acknowledges and rejects clichés rings too true and dig deep. Perhaps as a result it is quite clichéd, but the nuanced and heavy hearted texture of the film with the soft autumnal cinematography and use of music makes it a human experience. It's such a melodic, delicate, intimate, introspective, melancholic and ultimately heartbreaking look at the pain of moving on, emotionally and in Eleanor Rigby's case, physically as she finds herself compelled to drift from place to place hoping that she can start fresh but never does. It's very satisfying that the film met high expectations, at least this half of the experiment.

8/10
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Touching, delicately shot and brilliantly acted. Simply fantastic
Red_Identity9 December 2014
Saw this last night (I consider it one film, saw both parts back to back in that order). Such a lovely, touching film, and not at all what I expected when I first heard about the project. First off, I just want to say that I find the title really gimmicky and misleading. Okay, sure, it's technically not "wrong", but it just sounds like a lead-on for something it's not, such an easy way to grab audience's attention.

The basic plot point that leads to the whole film has been done before (Rabbit Hole did it just a few years ago) and the whole film isn't trying to be anything other than an honest, captivating look at two characters' lives and the way they deal with this tragedy. For some reason I thought it was going to be this really daring film. I was wrong and I knew almost immediately, but I didn't mind. The script is fantastic, and the two leads superb. McAvoy actually impresses more in Her, and as a whole he's not really in Chastain's level, but he has some really strong scenes and as of now I'd have him in my Top 10 for Lead Actor (and he's in my top 3 for Filth, which is a better performance but an inferior film in every way). What can I say about Chastain? Her best performance alongside Zero Dark Thirty, and may very well be even better for the fact that she's able to play a much more rounded character in terms of emotions. What I've always found incredibly impressive about her as an actress is that, not only is she technically impeccable in all her work to a fault like so many other acclaimed actresses are, but she's also able to inhabit a character fully to the point that her technicality doesn't feel like we're watching her at a distance emotionally. That's a problem I have with some actresses working right now. They can be great, yeah, but can also hit notes technically well while feeling too much like it's all for show at times. I've never had that problem with Chastain. Her work here is among the best of the year and it's a shame that neither her or the fantastic film she's in are even getting mentions from critic bodies. If its because of the stupid "Them" decision, then what a shame... but it's most likely not, and that's an even bigger shame
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8/10
Complex, unique film
NateWatchesCoolMovies7 October 2015
The Disppearance Of Eleanor Rigby (nothing to do with the Beatles song except a brief reference by a character) is a thoughtful, exceptionally well made film about a couple dealing with an immense tragedy that has put a weight on their relationship, forcing them to take some time apart. James Macavoy, an actor who continues to impress, and Jessica Chastain, always amazing, play the two with diligent feeling and palpable hurt. Now, there's three different edits of the film. His, which is mostly his side of events following the breakup, where Macavoy takes center stage and we see his life. Hers, which shows us where Chastain ends up, and how she is coping. The third version, Theirs, is a truncated version of both stories, leaving out a lot of key scenes and important beats. His and Hers together come out to about four hours of movie watching, but if you're going to invest yourself in their story, you owe it to you self to watch them both, starting with His. Because there is four hours of their story, they are allowed to develop and interact in a fashion that feels far more genuine and lifelike than a rushed two and a half hour movie. Macavoy is an aspiring cook who runs a small café with his friend and sous chef (Bill Hader, fiercely funny) and yearns for Chastain, angry at life for throwing them the curveball it did. He moves in with his father (Ciaran Hinds gives phenomenal work), a successful restauranteer. Chastain moves in with her folks as well, played by Isabelle Huppert and William Hurt. Hurt, who hasn't been around that much lately, makes up for that by anchoring a key scene with Chastain. It's interesting that he gets to play her father in a film, because they both share a measured, baleful, hypnotic grace in their work, and seeing them interacting was a treat for me, being an immense fan of both their work. Now, the film is more than the sum of its parts, but I mean that in a good way, since the parts themselves are so brilliantly done as well. It's what we expect from the romantic drama Avenue, but because we see an extended fluidity to the work, a narrative free from the fractured conventions of usual editing styles, we feel right there with our two protagonists, every step of the way. More films should break the mold and try to be more than just segmented movies, and use immersion techniques like this to draw us in. Coupled with that unique method of delivery comes a sincere commitment from actors and director alike, to explore an aspect of life and relationships that many see as unpleasant or upsetting, yet can still make for beautiful work. Well worth a watch.
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7/10
You Can Change a Person Just By Living
ThomasDrufke9 February 2015
For me, I think the two films are two of the most realistic films I have ever seen. Chastain & McAvoy are brilliant and I'm glad we got to see both sides of the story. But I did tend to like "him" a little bit better. I will say that I think "Her" is better acted. When you have greats like Viola Davis and William Hurt as supporting actors that are essential to moving the story forward, you know you have something good on your hands. This side of the story is darker and more depressing as it more closely deals with unimaginable situation of losing someone very close to you.

The most powerful thing that was said in either film was the idea that "You can change a person just by living". It's definitely true, there are people close to me that directly impact my life whether I see them or not. Just by living, they are changing my life. It's something I don't really think about, but I will now. Also the idea of memory is brought up a lot. Chastain's character, Eleanor, talks about the concept of only remembering things once or twice in your entire life, and then it's gone. It's pretty morbid if you ask me. After seeing this one second, I always thought about perception, and how the way events unfold and if I see things differently than people close to me. Even in the slightest bit, I think it's pretty evident we do.

Overall, the films are worth watching if you like darker and more realistic types of love stories. I just don't think I ever want to watch these films again. They are just too depressing. But without question they are brilliantly acted and superbly shot. I'm glad I checked them out.

+Chastain's range

+Tackling different and difficult concepts

+Beautiful to look at

-Very dark

7.4/10
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6/10
In a nutshell, HIM, HER and THEM
lasttimeisaw5 March 2015
The sadness of being an incorrigible completist, I have to finish all these three films before writing my review, Ned Benson's ambitious feature-length debut is a post-trauma story of a young couple Conor (McAvoy) and Eleanor (Chastain) in New York after losing their child in an unspecified accident, HIM centres on Conor and HER centres on Eleanor in the same time period, then interweaves these two versions together, there arrives THEM, one can get an overall view of their paralleled life. So basically, I have watched the same movie twice, and certain scenes three times where the path of Conor and Eleanor converges.

The premise is soundingly intriguing, as often cornily referred as two separate cerebral hemispheres, the film allows viewers to observe how men and women think and act differently towards the same scenario, in this case, a heartbroken tragedy. In HIM, the movie starts with one of their most intimate memory before their bereavement, an inadvertent thrill in their ordinary life sparks strong romance with Conor amorously says: "There is only one heart in this body, please have mercy on me". Then it jumps to several months of the aftermath, Eleanor uses an extreme method to declare that their life can not sustain as the status quo, they need to take a break. Conor doesn't understand why she needs her alone-time for her grievance, he is equally heartbroken, but he is ready to move on, leaving the tragedy behind with a seal on it, not to mention and keeps living on afterwards. He opens a bar with his best friend Stuart (Hader) and a flirty barmaid Alexis (Arianda) who is ready to "falling in love with him madly if he allows her". Meanwhile his father Spencer (Hinds) owns a successful restaurant named after Conor's mother, whom he dumped ages ago, it is also a thorny decision for him whether or not to swallow his pride to admit failure and take the restaurant inasmuch as his bar is on the brink of bankrupt, it is a privileged struggle as a rich kid's blues.

In HER, no romantic prologue, Eleanor is introduced in her abrupt suicidal behaviour, then she returns to her bourgeoisie parents living in the suburb (played by Hurt and Huppert, he is a university professor and she is French), she goes back to the college and takes a class of professor Lillian Friedman (Davis), before long Conor finds out her whereabouts, stalks her in the street, in the classroom and eagerly to reconnect. As Hurt carefully phrases "Tragedy is a foreign country, we don't know how to talk to the natives", Conor's tentative makeup doesn't work, Eleanor needs to be over-indulged in the past for some time before finally moving forward, plus, she can spend all the time she wants in Paris, to heal her wounds, after a whimsical but failed reconnection during a pouring rain and a vis-a-vis opening-up in the middle of the night, it is rather tedious for her to realise that she should take a real break out of the Tri-state area. The disparity erected between each and every individuals cannot be compromised, only when they arrive in the same page with the same pace, they may have a chance to start anew as a couple.

As often as he can, Benson intends to throw snappy verbal rejoinders to sound posh or vivacious, but most of the time they are ill-placed ("Now YOU sound maternal" throwaway) and uninspired, as most of the dialogues verge on beating around the bush either without any substantial function or being painstakingly predictable. Yet the two leads is recommendable in any rate, so it is safe to say the film is perfect for McAvoy and Chastain's stalwarts, both set off a full gamut of emotional overhaul and not to mention many close-ups to let their fans luxuriate in the idolatry. Among the eclectic supporting cast, Huppert radiates in every scene simply by holding a glass of red wine in her hand, and Davis thrusts her raw gravitas into her casual bantering with her THE HELP (2010, 8/10) co- star, as an outsider, she is the one who pierces through the surface without any scruples, only if she could have more screen time in it.

The indie soundtrack is an understandable trapping of the prevalent mumblecore output, it's ambient, moody and meditative, tailor-made to outline the disposition of the storyline. Collectively speaking, the films attempt to be artistic and unique, it could have hit the bull- eye with all such a talented group, only if it could subtract the permeating tint of narcissism, and conjure up some more salient epiphany. At last, the THEM version abridges some minor sequences and merges HIM and HER with an intact take on the proceedings. There is no new scenes added, so one can choose to watch HIM and HER, or THEM, either is sufficiently competent to disclose its allure and drawbacks.
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7/10
"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her" - Revisiting "Blue Valentine" with a Lady's story
Tanay_LKO13 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"… If I am estranged from myself, I am likewise a stranger to others." - Brennan Manning

While watching this female-centered chapter of the trilogy, one could find out in a short-while our protagonists might be going around in circles and not reaching a fair ground of conclusion. Eleanor(Jessica Chastain) and her estranged husband, Connor(James McAvoy), might still be in love but given their history of tragedy, she avoided meeting halfway or even less to make it work again about them. Not because that Eleanor was scared or abruptly commitment- phobic, but profoundly pained by her past of which he was an integral part, thus, she wanted to leave all of it back. At the same time, Conor tried hard only to give-up as well, and unwillingly accepting their estrangement.

Around here, this 'drama-romance' seemed to be moving towards a 'tragedy'; however, around the conclusion the protagonists do meet- up and talk their hearts out, and amidst their sorrow, understand to move on and away. However, in the aftermath their future-association was left on the viewer's discretion.

In the film, 'escapism' was delicately placed and utilised like a furbished backdrop to the plot, however, in a non-negative connotation; such as - Eleanor adored her nephew, and knew that it won't give her solace for long and definitely not suffice for her child. At the same time, we notice through her dialogues that her 'part-broken, part-recovering' viewpoints towards her environment and everyone around her, as she seemed so hopeless in shedding her pain, making her more isolated from any compassion.

Similarly, she found mirrors too pinching and bothersome; though she ended up discovering one (more of her own 'reflection') in her anthropology professor (Viola Davis), who also "stayed hard" towards life, much like her. They talk about their short-comings and form a likely companionship, while jibing together at their likes and dislikes making it seem like a 'hermetically sealed, surreal experience' between them. They mostly never reached any solid conclusions, but they always found each other. It is a visual treat to watch Chastain and Davis deliver their scenes together, with characteristically mouthing same set of lines time-after-time.

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her" is way better delivered than the "Them" chapter in all aspects – especially in its writing (Ned Benson) and editing (Kristina Bonet, "Carlito's Way"). With the exceptions of supportive vignettes, the drama seems genuine on many aspects and also, tends to generate a fair deal of empathy towards the female-protagonist and also, some displeasure.

Verdict – Watchable, mainly because of a near-perfect on-screen chemistry between James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain.

Rating – 7/10
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Brilliant performance by Jessica Chastain
Gordon-117 July 2015
This film tells the story of a married couple who separates because of tremendous grief after losing their child. This grieving process is told from her perspective.

"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her" is great because Jessica Chastain is brilliant in portraying a woman tormented by loss. We see that her interaction with friends is affected, and family ties are disrupted. The scene of her and her sister struggling on the floor is very effective. It's almost heartbreaking to watch it.

My only complain is that it is just to similar to "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them". It's almost like watching the same film again. Of course, that's not the fault of ",The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her", but the fault of "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them" not using a balanced proportion of footage.
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4/10
Great acting can't save this film
eddie_baggins8 June 2015
Continuing on from the frustration experienced in the saga's Him component, Her struggles to engage the audience in a meaningful way despite it featuring an assured Jessica Chastain performance and a few genuine moments of emotional power centred around loss and regret.

A large portion of frustration towards this entry stems from the fact that even though we do feel for Eleanor as a person we can't fully commit to liking her and she remains a cold and sometimes undeniably unlikeable figure throughout this components run time. She's a woman dealing with a great personal tragedy and a conflicted mindset, yet she's also someone that seems unappreciative of the friends around her and their helpful suggestions or ideas, in other words Eleanor comes off as someone who is to self-assured to see the positives around her.

Somewhere deep down in both Him and Her is a great film and one feels that if the best of both chapters were combined into one singular film it would be a much more recommendable if still slightly unoriginal tale, and perhaps that is the reason Them came into existence. With some nice turns by McAvoy and Chastain, these films remain watchable but never reach the heights they so easily could've had the hard slog journey been worth it in the final payoff.

2 Diet Cokes out of 5
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7/10
Wonderfully sensitive and honest, with a terrific Chastain
secondtake4 April 2015
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby…Her (2013)

With a title that is suspiciously catchy (as in the Beatles song) I expected a quirky comedy, or a weak independent flick. Instead I found a seriously good, thoughtful, straight ahead movie about a young woman facing a huge crisis in her life. Around her is a family that seems more or less normal, and friends who seem supportive in the ways we all expect. And it turns out this is one of three probing movies in a triptych about this difficult normality.

It is the cracks in our normal world this movie tries to explore. Like how the small things in family and friends can rub the wrong way, or how little flaws in a person's make-up can lead to small disasters, which accumulate. It's all beautifully told, with subtle acting all around including a minor but gentle presence as the woman's father by William Hurt and an odd but eventually important role as the woman's professor by Viola Davis.

It is Jessica Chastain, for sure, who makes this movie soar. She's subtle enough, underacting as needed, and physical enough, moving through the scenes with snap (including the startling first scene), she keeps the movie especially alive. In some unexpected way it might be compared to the more amazing Frances Ha, though there must be better examples of following a young woman through her struggles for purpose and place in an ordinary, contemporary world. On difference is certainly that the title Character (Eleanor) has suffered a huge disaster and doesn't quite show it. She seems out of sorts, but not on the edge of ruin. Chastain is somehow remarkable, anyway, though, playing her part with feeling but not overplaying it. It's the writing and direction that needed a little tilting into reality.

If you are wondering about the other two movies, read on: the idea is not exactly new, but still adds depth. The Him and Her movies show a series of events from two different points of view, which of course is how life works. This version (Her) is from the woman's point of view, and is maybe the best for me because I really like Chastain.

Beware of the third movie, however—which has the suffix: Them. This is a mash of the first two, a shortened single version that apparently lacks the potentially probing aspects of the two halves, which are sometimes released together as a marathon version that is not the combined Them.

I suggest giving this one an honest try. It's really better than some of the complaints if taken just as it stands, alone. Whether you should then see the Him version then depends on you.
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1/10
I had a hard time following this
blackwidowis7cool2 August 2019
This is a story of a young couple who lose their child and are trying to pick up the pieces of their relationship. I honestly found this rather hard to understand and follow - partially due to the fact that the sound was poor on the dvd and there is no subtitles. The acting is okay, but nothing to speak of. Not recommended.
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5/10
Professor Friedman: "All the lonely people, where do they all come from?" Eleanor Rigby: "Hmm?"
Seems like you may have to bring a lot of your own experience to this one to make it meaningful. I couldn't help get the feeling that w/d Ben Nelson was trying to revive our flagging interest by withholding vital information and by keeping Jessica C—albeit a brittle, clinically depressed JC—on screen as much as possible. Even the 30″ encounter with Bill Hader and Viola Davis's whacky psych lecture couldn't keep me from fidgeting with the Stop button. I enjoyed the Downtown locations and some of the interactions between Eleanor and her sister (nicely played by Jess Weixler), but after a couple of especially static, underwritten scenes we decided we'd had enough...
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I am not the target audience for this kind of tripe.
glowinthedarkscars16 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This review is for both the HIM and HER versions of the movie. please note this is just one guy's opinion.. My friend who I watched the movie with loved it.. unfortunately, I did not have the same experience.

THE GOOD:

1. The acting, except for Jessica Chastain's performance, is good and all of the actors did their jobs well considering the script. Jess Weixler as the sister did exceptionally well for such a small part. She carried all the scenes in which she appears.

2. Sound and editing. I could hear and understand all of the dialog spoken. The transitions between scenes and the flow of the storytelling felt very natural.

THE BAD:

1. The story & dialog felt very contrived & pretentious. A couple deals with the death of their infant son and their relationship breaks down afterward. This is the root of the story but the way these characters deal with such a tragedy is what I found to be so contrived.

For example: James McAvoy's Character Conor has a pet goldfish "Ralph" and it dies when his Dad accidentally overfeeds or feeds it the wrong food. The two men have a "heart to heart" talk during a walk to the river to dispose of Ralph's corpse, which is in a little cardboard box, by throwing it in the river. seriously, who would do that? would you do that?

another example is a scene where the two main characters are sitting on the sidewalk having a normal discussion about their relationship troubles which is only very odd considering the circumstances that one of them just got hit by a car and The Rescue personal which is clearly there for the whole discussion appear to be just standing around off screen waiting for them to finish the conversation before they load him into the ambulance.

There are many more moments like these and it may seem trivia and unimportant to some but for me it is this lack of attention to details that break the story.

2. The cinema photography is too dark in quite a few scenes and the soft blue color correction tint used is an interesting choice and will probably not be a problem for most people but i found it distracting. It took me out of the movie viewing experience just by the fact that I noticed it.

3. Jessica Chastain.. Her acting or her character in this movie rubbed me the wrong way.. i found it wooden. She was unable to emote in a believable manner.. I did not like or sympathize with her character at all but i am not sure whether it is her performance or the way her character is written.. maybe we are not suppose to like her and the fact that her character has difficulty expressing emotion could be intentional.. if so mission accomplished.

4.The relationship between the two main characters is strange from the beginning and why in the world the main guy would want to stay with a such a flaky, cold and emotional distant person is beyond me.

I watched both movies back to back. The HIM version first and then HER. I liked HIM better than HER but overall hated THEM both. Mediocrity at its best and a complete waste of time unless you are a film maker or screenwriter looking to learn from someone else's mistakes.

side note: watch THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST instead which also stars William Hurt and contains the very same subject matter of a couple that deals with the loss of their son and the break-up of their marriage.
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1/10
Immature and dull, it adds absolutely nothing to the matter.
axapvov2 February 2018
William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert are by far the best thing on this. Every time they appear, it gets interesting, literally, including a Hurt´s monologue near the end that proves that, given material, good actors deliver. Huppert, of course, is able to make a fly´s flight interesting. They give a lesson to Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, which is kind of depressing since they´re both on the upper side of their generation. On the good hand, it´s not really their fault. The script is a disaster. The grief process is managed as if they were affected teenagers instead of young parents. At the beginning of the film I was commited but I didn´t feel anything whatsoever, except boredom. It doesn´t add absolutely anything to the matter, emotionally, psychologically or intellectually. I still don´t understand why does the teacher get so acquainted so quick with Eleanor, I guess the writer was one character short.

The same gimmick has been done over 40 years ago, at the very least, in "Divorce His - Divorce Hers", a failed TV movie that is still better than this in every aspect. Don´t get me started on the deceitfulness and hipsterism of the title. I had low expectations and I´m a big fan of everyone in the cast. This was very disappointing.
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6/10
Thank God for Chastain!
meeza29 April 2015
"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her" appeared to be an engaging movie about a woman whose life is turned upside down after a family tragedy and a spousal separation. What actually appeared in Writer-Director Ned Benson's film was a wishy-washy take on a confused woman who seeks family shelter after personal problems. The originality of this movie disappeared throughout its showing time; oh wait, on second thought, there was no appearance to begin with. I found the movie dreadfully boring. However, there is something here that salvaged this movie; and that comes in the form of the steady Jessica Chastain with her marvel performance as the title character. Chastain is one of, if not the best, actress working today. She always disappears into her character, and that is proved once again with her work here as Eleanor Rigby. However, I do not have the same sentiments for the supporting performances of this movie; which included (believe it or not) Viola Davis, James McAvoy, and William Hurt. Back to Jessie: It is too bad Chastain had to wrestle with the film's mundane storyline & screenplay. Benson actually filmed three versions of "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby";one from the "her" perspective (meaning Eleanor), one from the "him" perspective (being Rigby's estranged husband Conor), and one from the "them" perspective (which I guess is the rest of the Rigby party). I experienced the "her" one. But something tells me that him or them is not much better than her; which pretty much sums up human gender interaction; whatever that means. Time for me to disappear. Goodbye! *** Average
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7/10
Someone once said, "Familiarity breeds contempt . . . "
oscaralbert18 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
. . . and for those who, like me, survived THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: THEM--and, against their better judgment--continued on to DOER: HER, the adage proves true. HER's glass can be seen as half-empty or half-full, depending upon how you look at it. When you consider that RIGBY's publicity hacks state that HER runs "100 minutes," though your DVD counter proves it ACTUALLY clocks in at 106 minutes, the glass seems depleted, since enduring six "bonus" minutes of RIGBY is akin to spending a half dozen more centuries in Purgatory. On the other hand, your cup of joy is half full (if not running over) when you realize that even at 106 minutes, HER saves you nearly two millennium in Limbo, as the theatrical release (THEM) drags on for 17 minutes longer than THAT. (This, of course, is why I raised my THEM rating for HER.) Obviously, it remains virtually incomprehensible that THREE versions of this ambiguous mess were packaged for the DVD release (the only excuse I can rack from my brain was that the producers--a gaggle including Jessica Chastain, the HER of the title--thought that Ms. Chastain was pretty "hot stuff" after her turn in THE HELP).
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