August 25, 2011

See this movie: Rabbit Hole

Sometimes films come and go so quickly, if you miss opening weekend, you have totally missed your chance to see them. Except of course those damn Transformers movies which seem to linger forever.

One of those blink-and-you'll miss it films is last year's Rabbit Hole, which aside from an Oscar nomination for leading lady Nicole Kidman, seemed to vanish without a trace.

I just saw Rabbit Hole on VOD, and it smart, sad, and yes funnier than expected. The plot is simple: 8 months after the death of a 4-yr old boy, his parents continue to mourn and try to move on. Well, one parent can only mourn, and the other wants to move on.

Nicole Kidman gives in her best performance ever; she is touching and real and emotional ---- her face moves and everything! This feels like a human being, not a glam superstar going plain. Her character Becca cannot move past losing her child, everything is about her loss, from shopping for groceries to walking the dog.

Also great are Aaron Eckhart as the husband who mourns differently than wife (he's open to whatever works, but nothing does), Sandra Oh as a support group member who seems to have become a professional griever, and an especially sharp Dianne Weist as Kidman's mother, who lost her 30-yr-old son to a heroin overdose so she never loses patience with her daughter because she of all people understands.

Weist's character on losing a child: it changes you... you carry it around. It doesn’t go away... It just....” as her voice trails off wistfully in a tender moment between a combative mother and her wounded daughter. In Rabbit Hole everyone mourns differently: do you stay in that moment of loss, do you erase the memory, do you have another baby, do you talk about it at all?

The film is bleak with moments of funny; it achieves moments of catharsis, but it can be heavy going. The more the couple plays "normal," the more the effort fails. Becca tries to eradicate all signs of her son, while Howie reaches out to family and friends. The group sessions barely help, as they show the gap between the two, and reveal how they are moving further apart with their own post-loss lives.

This is an intense, intimate story of a couple reeling from the loss of their young son. It is a quiet tragedy, and I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that was not a box office hit; now on DVD and VOD it has another chance, and I hope people see it.

Rabbit Hole made me feel and think. And maybe tear up a bit. No matter how safe and comfy your surroundings, the film insists, everything in an instant can disappear down a rabbit hole.


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