Film Review: Rabbit Hole (2011)

| 28 February , 2011 | Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne West, Sandra Oh

It is without doubt the greatest fear of every parent—the fear of losing a child. But faced with this reality, Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) offer us a provocative look at this intense grief. Having lost their three-year-old son to a tragic car accident, the two take different paths in coping with their devastation, and find that there is an alive and uncontrollable destructiveness about grief that persists in dividing them when they most need each other.

Adding to the emotional complexity is the way they are viewed by their friends. Some cannot bear to face them, while others feel compelled to bring the loss into every conversation. Becca\’s mother (a stunning performance from Dianne West), having herself lost a child under very different circumstances, is grinding Becca down with her constant comparisons, and Becca\’s sister\’s pregnancy is just another reminder of all they have lost.

Howie finds solace in counselling, which Becca resists, and he particularly relates to fellow grieving parent Gaby (played exquisitely by Sandra Oh), who finds her marriage also faltering under the pressure. Becca, on the other hand, finds herself dwelling on the teenage driver at fault in the accident, who becomes an unexpected friend, someone with whom she can share her horror, and he his guilt.

In her debut as the film\’s producer, Kidman has outdone herself—having selected a brave subject and delivering with both a powerful performance and a well-constructed cast and crew. In my opinion, Kidman\’s star shines brightest when she is given a nuanced role where subtlety is key (such as The Hours). And Becca offers just this opportunity—a character who gives us grief in an alternative, yet completely believable package.

Rabbit Hole\’s narrative core lies equidistant between a beautiful portrayal of sadness and loss and a poetically nuanced exploration into the many facets of grief. I cried and I laughed, but most of all I admired a film that so tenderly and honestly dealt with one of life\’s most cruel scenarios.

Rabbit Hole is in cinemas now.


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