Rabbit Hole (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/02/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Impressively directed and superbly written, this is a powerfully emotional bereavement drama with a deservedly Oscar-nominated performance from Nicole Kidman.

What's it all about?
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his own play, Rabbit Hole stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as Becca and Howie Corbett, a wealthy suburban New York couple who are struggling to reconnect after the loss of their four-year-old son in a tragic accident. Becca's mother (Dianne Wiest) and newly pregnant slacker sister (Tammy Blanchard) try to help but only make things worse and group counselling sessions seem to pull them further apart because Howie responds to them while Becca feels alienated by their reliance on religious platitudes.

When Becca decides to leave the group, she has a chance encounter with sensitive, artistic teenager Jason (Miles Teller) – the driver of the car that killed her son – and the pair begin to meet in secret. Meanwhile, Howie grows closer to Gabby (Sandra Oh), a fellow member of the support group whose husband has recently left her.

The Good
Nicole Kidman delivers perhaps the best performance of her career as Becca, entirely deserving her recent Oscar nomination; she's also perfectly cast, as her tendency towards onscreen coldness is used to good effect here. Eckhart is equally good and there's strong work from a terrific supporting cast, particularly Miles Teller, who's quietly affecting as the guilt-stricken-but-dealing-with-it-in-his-own-way teenager.

The excellent script avoids wallowing in sickly sentimentality and instead achieves a credible, painfully realistic portrayal of grief, punctuated by moments of bone-dry humour (such as the moment Howie realises that maybe it's better if he doesn't tag along on open house tours after all). Similarly, though the subject matter is undeniably upsetting, it's fascinating to watch two people deal with grief in strikingly contrasting ways and heart-breaking to realise that they are unable to help each other.

The Great
In addition, the film feels much less stagey than other recent play adaptations. It is also full of engagingly offbeat touches, such as the comic book that Jason draws to help him come to terms with his guilt; this also leads to the film's wonderful key scene, where Kidman's character, though unable to take comfort in religion, learns to find solace in the idea of parallel universes.

Worth seeing?
Rabbit Hole is a superbly directed, brilliantly written and strongly emotional bereavement drama with a terrific central performance from Nicole Kidman. Highly recommended.

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Rabbit Hole (12A)
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Content updated: 21/07/2018 00:58

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