Monday, December 27, 2010

Rabbit Hole

Today I saw Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart.

Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) have lost a son. Their beloved 4-year-old Danny chased their dog into the street and was struck and killed by a car. This was eight months ago.

Today their world is dismal. They don't make love, don't agree on ways to heal (he likes group therapy; she hates it) and have several problems communicating as a result. To top it off, Becca's irresponsible sister is knocked up and Becca can't help but be jealous and judgmental about the new baby.

Sound like fun? Well, of course not, but it's not quite as hard to watch as it sounds.

Sure, Becca is draped in depressing grays and exhibits the loss of energy any of us feel when experiencing pain of that magnitude, but there is a merit to what's happening on-screen.

The relationship Becca develops with Jason (Miles Teller), the teenager who was driving the car that killed her son, is tender and tragic—as if each time she looks at him she sees an age that her son will never reach.

Becca and Howie are angry, but they're not malicious toward one another, though their marriage is crumbling at every turn.

Gaby (Sandra Oh) is a friend Howie makes in group therapy and her presence seems appropriate and comforting in light of the circumstances. She's hurting too, and as the saying goes: misery loves company.

There is resolution without closure here, and it's done gracefully thanks to director John Cameron Mitchell. This 'slice of death' story could have been a blatant sob-fest if it had fallen into the wrong hands, but thankfully it did not.

Really, the only thing wrong with it is Kidman's inability to hold her American accent during outburst scenes. But that is forgivable in such a well-written, enveloping film.



Norm Gregory said...

I just figured Kidman's character wasn't from the U.S.

I was amazed how good a $6 million movie shot on video could look. It never occurred to me it wasn't done on film.

Tassoula said...

I agree the film looked great.

As for Nicole, if she wasn't supposed to be American, then why didn't she just talk like her regular Aussie self? I found the ins and outs of the accent to be distracting. I can't find in any of the theater notes or film notes that her character was meant to be anything but American.

Plus, picturing Cynthia Nixon (who played the same character on Broadway), I envisioned a more passionate performance.

That said, she wasn't terrible. But Aaron and the kid who portrayed Jason were better.