Film Review: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart Avoid Melodrama in Moving ‘Rabbit Hole’

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole” tells a story not uncommon to cinema in its exploration of the emotional minefield that comes after the loss of a child but it does so with such restraint and humanity that it sets itself apart. With some of the best performances of the year from Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and Dianne Wiest, this is one of the strongest dramas of the awards season.

Melodramatic writers and directors have often used the death of a son to manipulate audiences with clichéd tearjerkers but honestly portraying such raw emotions is much more difficult. David Lindsay-Abaire’s excellent script for “Rabbit Hole” doesn’t focus on the death or even the days shortly thereafter, instead turning to how a couple heals months later, after the emotional scabs have formed. With arguably career-best turns from Kidman and Eckhart along with a subtlety rarely found in films like this, “Rabbit Hole” is sometimes mesmerizing and respectably low-key. I wished for one more revelation, moment, or scene that would push the film from great to perfect but it’s almost there.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Rabbit Hole” in our reviews section.

Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) have been completely devastated by a loss that (I hope) you couldn’t possibly understand. There’s no road map for how to behave months after your son has died. There are support groups, but Lindsay-Abaire’s script is arguably at its most-fascinating when it asks the relatively-mundane questions like when do you give the clothes away? Do you sell the house in which he grew up? How long do you go to therapy? What if you’re not getting anything out of it anymore?

The divide between Becca and Howie has clearly been growing for some time – he stays up watching videos of his son while she feels pain every time she’s reminded of him – but it really kicks in when she stops going to group therapy. Howie continues to go and gets closer to one of the women there (Sandra Oh) while Becca actually begins something close to friendship with the young man (a startlingly-effective debut from Miles Teller) responsible for her son’s death.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Rabbit Hole” review.

“Rabbit Hole” stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Sandra Oh, Miles Teller, and Tammy Blanchard. It was written by David Lindsay-Abaire from his play and directed by John Cameron Mitchell. It is rated R and will be released in Chicago on December 25th, 2010.

Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole
Photo credit: Lionsgate

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