Movie Review Rewind: Rabbit Hole (2010)
Rarely do you see a film that is so affectionate and emotional and every performance is amazing and moving. Rabbit Hole is one of those rare films. Based on a play by David Lindsay-Abaire, the film is about the loss of a child and how the parents not only deal with it but how they try to start living again. It is often tough to watch all the pain and tears, but Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart give convincing and heartfelt performances that makes the audience come close to feeling their pain.
Rabbit Hole starts eight months after the death of Becca (Kidman) and Howie’s (Eckhart) young son, Danny. He was killed by a car after chasing their dog in to the street. Becca used to have a career but gave it up to be a stay-at-home mom. While she has been grieving for months, the world has gone on without her. She does her best each day to live as normal as possible and she tries to go to a support group with Howie, but she doesn’t like it. When she is with her mother (Dianne Wiest) and sister, the sister is nervous about what she can say and can’t say. And her mother lost a son (Becca’s brother) and compares him to Danny, and that only pisses Becca off more.
As Becca cleans out Danny’s room and gives his stuff to Goodwill, Howie lives in the past. Every night he watches videos of Danny, wants the dog back at their house, and wants their son’s drawings to stay on the refrigerator. He seeks help in the support group and continues to go without Becca, and there he meets Gaby (Sandra Oh), a woman who is going through a divorce who will test Howie and his already damaged marriage.
Howie and Becca had the perfect family life until tragedy struck and turned their world upside down. And the film is really about them trying to exist again and reconnect on a physical and emotional level. Losing their son took the life out of both of them, and now they have to find a way to cope and get back to normal. Or as close as they can get to it.
I have already praised Kidman and Eckhart’s performances, but the way these two work with each other and display all their anger and affection is amazing. We hope to never experience what Howie and Becca have experienced, but it does happen. And to watch a couple go through such a painful process, it is difficult to be a witness to. But you can’t give up on these two because there is hope just as long as they realize that and can find it. And Kidman and Eckhart are magnificent in their scenes alone and when they’re together. They are captivating the whole way through.
Wiest has done great work in the past, but hasn’t really been in too many films recently. But her performance as Becca’s mother is amazing. Her and Becca may but heads, but they have both dealt with losing a child. No matter how they died, it is a constant struggle and, unfortunately, they both know what that feels like. Wiest only shares a few scenes with Kidman, but she delivers in every single one of them. Her character is understanding and gentle yet holds nothing back and is honest with her daughters.
Miles Teller plays Jason, the teenager who was driving the car that killed Danny. His scenes with Kidman are the most special and touching moments of the film. A support group was not for Becca. But, when she starts to meet Jason in the park, that is where her healing really begins to take place. As they get to know each other, they begin to talk about that tragic day. They’re both able to find some kind of peace. It is tough to be a mother that loses her son, but the film makes us remember that being a teenager and carrying around so much guilt is a grueling process as well.
Director John Cameron Mitchell took a terrific script with an intense subject matter and turned it in to a film about love and pain, family and forgiveness, and regrets and choices. Mitchell knows the film has to be tragic and emotional. But, even in a situation such as this, hope and humor can be found. Rabbit Hole is not a depressing film. It is a story about life and loss, and being able to never forget but having the opportunity to recover and rebuild. This film is smart and delicate, and not afraid to show its heart and soul.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.