Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
0

Movies Review

Rabbit Hole

By
Rabbit Hole
Nicole Kidman falls into a downward spiral in Rabbit Hole, though in career terms, it's anything but. She may already have proven her ability to do abject misery in The Hours (thank you, Oscar), The Human Stain, Birth, Fur and Margot At The Wedding, but in this adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, she secures her right to that thorny crown (and possibly another Oscar) as a mother grieving the loss of her child. Add to that a crumbling marriage and broken family ties and life can't get much darker. Mercifully, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Everything appears to be in order at the start as Becca (Kidman) and husband Howie (Aaron Eckhart) go about their daily routine in sunny suburbia. But there is an undercurrent of tension. Becca has a touch of the Stepford Wife about her, tied in apron strings, appearing to do her duty and yet barely responsive to Howie's touch. The elephant in the room is not addressed, even at the point when they resolve to attend a support group for grieving parents. Kidman also dares to be controversial, challenging one mother who uses religion to make sense of her loss.

Meanwhile, Becca's carefree sister Izzy (Tammy Blanchard) is afraid to mention she's pregnant leaving mother Nat (Dianne Wiest) to negotiate the peace. Wiest is brilliant in this role, breaking the tension for us while ramping it up for Becca - plastering on a smile and making preconceived chitchat, hoping that her daughter will share her feelings. Of course, it has the opposite effect. You can sense Kidman building a head of steam. She nearly blows a gasket when Howie turns down the lights and turns up an Al Green CD. It's so discomforting to watch Becca squirming at the thought of intimacy that you may just miss the comedy of the moment.

There's more nauseating humour, most memorably when Howie shows his dead son's bedroom to prospective house buyers while his realtor cringes behind him. Eckhart is on top form, clinging to dignity by the barest thread. Such moments are sharply observed by director John Cameron Mitchell (who favours edgy comedy in films like Hedwig And The Angry Inch), but the uncertainty over whether to laugh or cry is also a weakness at times. He keeps us removed at the start, waiting for us to fill in the blanks and drawing us in that way. But after the truth is revealed, it's as if we're pulled away again, invited to look at this picture from a different angle.

The script also intellectualises the quest for meaning, which can be distracting. Becca states her position on God emphatically, more than once. Meanwhile, she is meeting in secret with the teenager who accidentally ran down her son (a startlingly mature performance from Miles Teller) in hope of finding some answers. He offers her the 'Rabbit Hole' theory, the notion of infinite worlds where her son might still be living and he illustrates this in a comic book. He makes it a gift, but the idea and the gesture feels calculated. What's more important is that a collision course is set, forcing the characters to tell their own truths. The actors don't flinch from the task and there is hope at the end, though it may feel like small reward after so much digging.


> What do you think of the movie? Share your views

You May Like

Comments

Loading...