DVD Review - Rabbit Hole

As I watched this beautifully, heartbreaking film, I knew what the premise was. A woman and her husband lose their child who dies at a very young age. Except, the first fifteen minutes doesn't really clue you into that. The story starts eight months after the woman and man lose their child. There is no exposition, no explanation, the story just picks up eight months later and progresses forward.

Nicole Kidman was nominated for the Oscar for this performance, her third nomination. Kidman plays Becca, a woman who used to work in Manhattan at a high-profile fashion company, a job she probably gave up to have a baby. Now, she's very much a lonely and depressed, domestic goddess, floating about her garden and her kitchen ruling and keeping things in order, but there is a fragility to her. She, at any moment, could break into tears or into a rage.

She's not totally alone. Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight and Erin Brockovich) co-stars as Howie, her husband. He is not as fragile. He's the one who on the surface seems like he's not as stuck as his wife, but, in many ways he's just as stuck in grief. Maybe, it's because he does get up and go to work, but it becomes clear that neither of them is more at peace or more over the death than the other.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, this film was directed by James Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). The movie is all about how these two people deal with grief in different ways but in ways that are quite parallel. Minus the exposition or explanation, the movie at first is about not talking about it. There is even a moment when Becca gets rid of their son's drawings, which were hanging on the refrigerator, and Howie chooses not to say anything about it. Yet, the movie does build to a point where everyone does talk about it and address it powerfully. It explodes for some of the characters in very strong beats.

What this film does brilliantly is have dialogue, which doesn't explicitly come out and say what the underlying issue is, the death of the child, but, through its word and language choices and through the way the actors perform it, makes you feel what that underlying issue is. One prime example is a scene where Becca actually sits and talks to the teenage boy who ultimately killed her son. You could say that the two of them dance around the topic and totally ignore the elephant in the room, but what you learn is that the scene is so layered that the two are dealing with it and addressing it, and that it is linked.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, language and some drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 31 mins.


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