Monday, November 29, 2010

RABBIT HOLE (2010)

Written by David Lindsay-Abaire


Directed by John Cameron Mitchell


Where & When: AFI Film Festival, Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood, CA. November 7, 2010  8:00PM



"Rabbit Hole", the latest from director John Cameron Mitchell, begins with a couple trying to cope a short time after the unimaginable tragic loss of their young son who is killed by a car.

Nicole Kidman plays Becca, the devastated mother of the child, Danny, struggling on how to handle his loss yet knows exactly what she doesn't want to do; She doesn't want to go to group therapy with her husband, Howie (Aaron Eckhart), listen to people sum up death as "God's plan" nor hear from her mother (Dianne Wiest) comparing her child's passing to her brother's death due to a drug overdose. Becca's way of coping and easing the pain is trying to erase any reminders of her son like getting rid of the dog he was chasing after before the accident, wanting to sell the house and taking down the cute pictures that Danny drew.

Howie is trying to cope with the loss in his own way but his wife's difficult behaviour and her desire to try and wipe the existence of their child's life has put more stress on their already strained marriage. Becca is upset to discover that her younger sister, Izzy (Tammy Blanchard) is pregnant with her musician boyfriend (Giancarlo Esposito) but is the last to know, although she understands the reason why. Becca feels that her wild child sister is reckless and irresponsible and finds it difficult to hold back her feelings on her becoming a mother.

Another unusual way Becca is trying to deal with her child's death is by befriending Jason (Miles Teller), the young man who accidentally killed Danny. They meet secretly to talk which, in a small way, helps them both heal from the tragedy until Howie discovers their communication and he is not at all happy.

Mr. Mitchell's previous films, the tranny-rock musical, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (2001) and the hardcore sex dramedy, "Shortbus" (2006) wouldn't necessarily give any indication that he would be the right choice to direct this film based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play but he more than does justice to this well-done and moving drama. He gets terrific and nuanced performances from all of his actors, most especially from Ms Kidman and Mr. Eckhart.

Ms Kidman, like fellow movie star, George Clooney, prefers to shake-up her film choices by alternating between making the big-budgeted Hollywood movie and then doing a smaller scale independent film and although her last few films may not been big box-office successes, that doesn't mean her work in them was not intriguing and fascinating. She has always given solid performances and "Rabbit Hole" is no exception, in fact I think it's one of her best ever. She digs deep as a woman who is blinded by only one emotion she is capable of feeling: anger as she struggles to find her way back to some sense of normalcy.

Mr. Eckhart, who I think is an underrated actor, delivers another fine performance and Ms Blanchard, an Emmy award winner for her brilliant portrayal of a teenage Judy Garland in the film, "Life With Judy Garland: Me And My Shadows",  is great in her supporting turn.

With sharp direction, a well crafted script and powerful performances, "Rabbit Hole" is a touching, personal drama about people trying to make sense of a very painful situation that can never truly make any sense but they find a way to come to terms with death so that they are able to continue living.

One final thought, I HATE the movie poster for this film. It just seems very lazy and unimaginative plus it certainly isn't going to lure anyone to see this nor give them any idea what the film is about.