Rabbit Hole (4 out of 5 stars)
Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire Adapted from the play Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckheart, Diane Wiest, Sandra Oh, and Tammy Blanchard
This film is adapted from the play Rabbit Hole and is about a married couple Becca Corbett (Kidman) and Howie Corbett who lose a child in an accident. The film starts chronicles the different approaches that both Becca and Howie use to cope with the death of their son. Becca tends to try and control the landscape of their lives as the now stay at home mom, while Howie tends to want hold onto everything that their son ever touched or played with.
Kidman is brilliant as Becca and is raw and brutal in her portrayal of a mother whose love knows no boundaries. Becca says what is on her mind, and Kidman's acting gives truth and honesty to the performance. When Becca and Howie go to their grief counseling a time where couples talk about the children they lost one couple says that "God took their daughter to make another angel" and Kidman states back to them why didn't God just make another angel. The power behind her realistic performance breathes life into this film.
Becca's mother Nat (Wiest) also has lost a son and she constantly compares her loss to Becca's. The dynamic between Kidman and Wiest is tense, they have both lost their children, and have to come to terms with the difficulty of the pain they deal with everyday. Becca's sister Izzy (Blanchard) tells Becca that she is pregnant at the beginning of the film, and as Becca copes with this you can see her unravel as she feels her child should be alive while her sister is not responsible enough to have a kid.
Eckhart is the strongest I have ever seen him; he deals with his pain tangible real ways through trying to reach out to others like Gaby (Oh) who also lost a child. When Izzy says that her child died 8 years prior to that group session you see Eckhart's face hope drain from his face as he realizes that the grief process will take years, and he may never recover from losing his son.
This films is honest raw and passionate, and director John Cameron Mitchel lends a great eye to creating a tale that weaves grief and humor well. Mitchell crafts the most painful scenes between Becca and the boy who was driving the car that hit her son, Jason with magnetism. Becca and Jason have this connection and help each other through their process, and the screenplay helps paint the complex issue between the victim of the family and Jason. His comic book is the inspiration for the title of film; he talks about alternate universes where people carry on different activities. Within this universe there is great tragedy, but within his comic the hope is there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Mitchell has created a powerful work of art that makes you look deeply into the complexity of loss, and how there are different stages, and different method that help people cope with a process that you can't understand until you deal with it first-hand.