Synopsis: The disintegration of couples relationship after a tragic event.
Stan's thoughts: Like to think of this one as an emotional mystery 'thriller' but first I need to explain how the film came about. It was originally shot as two films, Him from James McAvoy's perspective and Her from Jessica Chastain's. To make it more commercially viable (I'm reading between the lines a little) the director Ned Benson was encouraged to edit the two together into one film and thus 'Them' was born. I'll come back to this.
The film opens with a romantic dinner between Conor and Eleanor early in their relationship. They are happy and having fun. Then we cut to some time in the future and see Eleanor attempt suicide. What follows is the aftermath in Conor and Eleanor's relationship as they try and piece things together, indeed can they piece things together and what was it that led Eleanor to make an attempt on her own life?
There is never a big reveal in this film just a slowly growing understanding of what happened to them fed by an undercurrent of sorrow and tragedy. It is gently moving, no killer emotional punch, just a feeling in the gut that had me on the verge of tears pretty much throughout.
James McAvoy said in the Q&A afterwards (yes I got to walk the red carpet 'with' Mr McAvoy) that it was an unusual filming experience because Ned Benson's process was so different to other Hollywood films he's worked on. He kept getting told to do less and the result is a performance that is pared back and speaks volumes without grand gestures and words. A performance that reminds me a little of Atonement.
Jessica Chastain is equally superb, full of unspoken hurt and sorrow. A woman obviously on the emotional edge but quietly so.
Great supporting cast too Ciaran Hinds plays Conor's father, Isabelle Huppert and William Hurt Eleanor's parents and Viola Davis her lecturer.
It is difficult to tell what was lost from cutting the two films together. I'd love to see them to properly judge particularly to get more under the skin of Eleanor. I suspect it might shed a bit more light on the implications of the ending too.
James McAvoy was asked whether it was hard playing Conor for a particular plot reason I won't reveal but he said it was easy to get into character just not easy to leave him behind.
- Stan’s 75%
- IMDB 71%
- Metascore 58%
- Rotten Tomatoes No score yet
- RT Audience Rating* No score yet
* Based on number of people who rated the film 3.5/5 and higher