The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Movie Poster Image
Mature drama examines a marriage, warts and all.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 122 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Grief can nearly kill you one moment -- but rebuild you the next.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eleanor is surrounded by supportive, if sometimes awkward, family members, especially her sister. Conor has a best friend and a flawed but ultimately concerned father who lends a helping hand. And both Eleanor and Conor are good people who love each other deeply but are rent apart by unspeakable loss.


A car hits a man and knocks him off his feet. Two friends have a shouting match that turns physical (mostly wrestling and tussling). A woman jumps off a bridge. A restaurant owner punches a belligerent customer. The main characters have suffered a terrible tragedy.


A couple is shown passionately kissing and presumably about to have sex (and in other scenes, having just had sex) in a car. In another scene, a man and a woman are shown making out, and it's made clear that they'll also have sex. In both cases, there's no nudity.


"Crap," "s--t," "d--k," "a-s," and f--k" are all heard.


Some labels seen or mentioned, including Hallmark and Le Sportsac.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking, usually at a bar or with dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is an earthy, complicated, fascinating (if somewhat overlong) glimpse into a marriage that's fallen to shambles after a tragedy. It's pretty intense, unflinching material that's not likely to be very relatable for younger teens. Expect swearing (including "a--hole," "f--k," and more), some violence (a fist fight and a few other physical confrontations, as well as a woman jumping off a bridge), drinking (mostly of the social variety), and some scenes in which couples are shown in passionate lip locks and are clearly headed for more.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byB-KMastah October 12, 2014

Mature, sympathetic, and realistic.

There will be some detractors that will call this a gimmick project. This film ("Them") is a objective take following both people within a relationshi... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain) -- yes, named after the Beatles song -- and Conor Ludlow (James McAvoy) meet and fall in love rapidly, plunging into bliss. But many years later, they're clearly in pain and lonely, both barely coping with a tragedy that has befallen them and one unwilling to stay. Can true love withstand the worst that life can send it? Is it true love if it can't? And does true love always last?

Is it any good?

Set aside the main complaint -- that it lingers too long on many scenes, which flattens the film's momentum -- and what you have is a careful, caring post-mortem of a marriage that's lost its way. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY has three versions: "Her," which looks at events primarily through Eleanor's eyes; "Him," through Conor's; and the merged version, "Them." The leads largely deserve kudos, especially a luminous Chastain who, in glee and in rage, brings her emotions full bore on screen. McAvoy's Conor suffers a little from being underwritten (at least in the "Them" version), but not from any shortcomings of McAvoy himself (except perhaps a bit of a loose hold on his American accent).

What's notable is how the script pulls back the lens to expose the ripple effects of a devastating tragedy -- one that doesn't just rend a couple apart but also unsettles everyone who loves both of them. Movies like these have been made before, some beautifully, but Eleanor Rigby dares to not come up with answers. Instead it reveals each of two people's point of view, as well as that of the friends and relatives who orbit them. It makes for formidable viewing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby handles the subjects of loss and marital discord. How is it different from other movies that have taken on these themes?

  • Who do you think the movie is aimed at? How can you tell?

  • Do Eleanor and Conor love each other? Does it matter?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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