Here’s what I picked for this month including short reviews:
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Dir. Ned Benson; Ft. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Viola Davis
“Once happily married, Connor and Eleanor suddenly find themselves as strangers longing to understand each other in the wake of tragedy. The film explores the couple’s story as they try to reclaim the life and love they once knew and pick up the pieces of a past that may be too far gone”
What I think is the most unique feature of this film is that Benson split the film into three: “Him”, “Her”, and “Them.” The three films depict differing perspectives between Connor and Eleanor and the way it affects how or even if the couple decides to pick up the pieces of their broken relationship. The dissonance caused by the the two differing experiences is realistic and in return makes it easier for anyone to resonant with the characters. Watching all three, instead of just “Them”, as some people suggest, definitely adds more to the experience. I suggest watching “Him” or “Her” first then “Them.” Benson also does a phenomenal job with his cinematography, he covers traumatic and triggering life events in a demure and sophisticated way.
The Secret Scripture
By Sebastian Barry
“Roseanne McNulty, once one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland, is now an elderly patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital. As her hundredth year draws near, she decides to record the events of her life, hiding the manuscript beneath the floorboards. Meanwhile, the hospital is preparing to close and is evaluating its patients to determine whether they can return to society. Dr. Grene, Roseanne’s caretaker, takes a special interest in her case. In his research, he discovers a document written by a local priest that tells a very different story of Roseanne’s life than what she recalls.”
I first read this book during one of my undergraduate senior seminars. The Secret Scripture was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 but won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize that same year. Barry’s work gave interesting insight into the the hardships during the Irish Revolution that permanently and dramatically affected Ireland. I chose this audiobook because of the representation of women in 20th century Ireland. Women were considered lesser to men and were often thrown into mental institutions due to “hysteria,” a disease inaccurately specific to women. Roseanne’s innocence and naivety reflect the hardships she has had to overcome when she grew up much too quickly at such a young age. There is a surprising twist at the end that I particularly enjoyed, though some may argue that the twist cost Barry the Man Booker prize.