“Rabbit Hole” is a new drama starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. It was adapted from an award-winning play and is directed by John Cameron Mitchell, a multi-talented actor, producer and director. Although his main focus has been television and smaller independent movies, he is aiming for a larger-scale audience this time with the help of Lionsgate films, which is distributing, and Nicole Kidman’s own production company, Blossom Films.
We enter the film eight months after a great tragedy. Howie Corbett (Aaron Eckhart) and his wife Becca (Nicole Kidman) lost their son Danny (Phoenix List) when he was hit by a car right in front of their house. Howie and Becca are each grieving in their own ways, but this loss has cracked the foundation of their marriage. While they both act like they are fine, there is major turmoil happening in each of them but neither is willing to deal with it directly.
Becca gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mom. Now, without a child, she tries to fill her days with mundane tasks to help her stay busy and not have to deal with the loss of her son. Howie is taking a different approach; he goes to a group therapy for parents who have had young children die, but he never fully participates. Both have a serious void in their lives, but they don’t seem to want to help fill each others, even Becca’s mom Nat (Dianne Wiest) and sister Izzy (Tammy Blanchard) try to help, but she won’t even talk to them about Danny.
Needing some outside source to confide in, Howie starts up a friendship with Gabby (Sandra Oh), a woman from his grief support group. Becca does something else entirely, she starts to follow Jason (Miles Teller), the young boy who accidentally killed her son and starts to have a relationship with him. Now, with both filling their time with other people, will they ever be able to be united as a couple again or will this tragedy have cause another in their relationship falling apart?
Although this is a drama that deals with a lot of hard subjects, I found it oddly comforting. The fact that it’s a realistic portrayal of what people actually go through and how everyone deals with loss in their own ways was easy for me to relate to. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart played their parts as the mourning parents beautifully and I really felt the raw emotions each was emitting in their roles. The movie is shot in a monochromatic spectrum to give a sense of the dreariness of their lives and situations. This is a great return of Kidman to the dramatic roles that she has played and she still has the power to draw you in and make you feel. When she finally breaks down, it’s over a small insignificant thing such as seeing a young boy go to the prom and she realizes that her son will never be able to do that. The entire film, when she keeps going to hang-out and talk with Jason, I kept trying to figure out why, but then you come to realize is that she doesn’t need a reason more than it’s someone outside of her life who knows what she is going through.
Eckhart’s character on the other hand has a bit more simple reason for his relationships outside of his marriage, he feels that Becca is trying to forget their son and wipe the memory of him out of their lives. Gabby is one person that is open and willing to talk about the loss of their children.
We also have some great supporting characters that add a lot of diversity and humor to this movie, led by Dianne Wiest as Becca’s mother. She is fluid and natural in her nurturing of her daughter and there is a real complexity to her character when you come to realize that her son died a few years prior and she is still dealing with the pain of that herself.
“Rabbit Hole” handles a very tender subject with truth, honesty and the occasional laugh.
Playing in limited release starting Dec. 17, “Rabbit Hole” is Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some drug use and language.
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