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What makes this a unique love story is that there are actually three movies. The first movie Them (in theaters today) is told from the perspective of the couple (played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy) as a whole. The second and third movies, Him and Her (both will be released simultaneously on Oct. 10), are told through the perspective of each individual in the relationship, how each person views the other. The shifting perspectives allows Benson to capture a love story in a wholly original manner, probably not seen since 500 Days of Summer.
In an interview with Coming Soon, Benson explains the origins of the idea for the movie, "Well, I think I wanted to make a love story in general, and ultimately, just through conversations with Jess (Chastain) and my producer Cassandra Kulukundis. I had written the sort of first part of the script, which was Him. Jess started asking me all these questions, and then it sort of was the impetus for me to write Her. That became really exciting, because all of a sudden we're making a movie about subjectivity in a relationship and how a relationship itself is two completely subject perspectives. That to me felt like I could feel more of the whole relationship as opposed to following one protagonist and like the back and forth. Then, I could create specific looks for each of these worlds and specific feels for each of these characters. So ultimately, what I started with was two separate character studies that ultimately would be this complete film, this complete story."
The visual component is also a creative decision that Benson incorporated into the Them version, in terms of the colors and what they symbolize in the story, he adds, "The idea in this combination is that because you're dealing with two people who aren't really communicating very well, I keep those disparate color palettes in the beginning, and as the film went on, and as they sort of slowly re-found each other, I try and synthesize those color palettes a little bit, so in the later scenes in the apartment, there's warm mixed with cool. When they meet on the sidewalk, there's warm mixed with cool. When they're in the car, I'm blending these color palettes. Then, towards the end of the movie, the last scene of the movie is a blend of it all. So, I was able to do that in terms of with timing and digital intermediate, but yeah, that was a concept I came up with in this making of Them, is just having these two very separate color spaces or visual spaces and then sort of merging them."
No matter which version audiences choose to watch (ideally, it's good to start with Them, which introduces certain elements, and then move on to Him and Her, which expands on some of those certain elements), there is no denying that Benson has made his mark as a talent to-watch with his debut. He has crafted a love story that captures the perceptions we put on ourselves and on each other. His honest and creative approach is something to admire in this day and age of franchise movie fatigue. His ambitious look of love will have audiences discussing long after the credits. This is the kind of independent filmmaking that should be championed and embraced. Hopefully audiences will discover the many sides of Eleanor Rigby and see a little of themselves in the complex characters Benson has created.