Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole

In Theatres: 
Dec 25, 2010
Running Time: 
91 minutes

Filming for the entire production of Rabbit Hole took 28 days.

 We all have different ways of grieving. Whether it be to our favorite sports team losing the championship or over a lost loved one, no one person grieves the same. In Rabbit Hole, Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart show just exactly how relationships can be affected when we lose a loved one.

Based on the 2006 Tony Award-winning play starring Cynthia Nixon, Rabbit Hole sees Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) continually struggling with the loss of their son, although his death occurred 8 months prior. Becca is attempting to cope without the help of anyone but herself, while Howie seeks the guidance of group therapy. Once Becca proves she cannot stand the "God freaks" inside group therapy, Howie continues to pursue guidance along with therapy partner, Gaby (Sandra Oh). Throughout the ongoing weeks, Becca constantly finds frustration with her mildly-alcoholic mother (Dianne Wiest) and newly pregnant sister (Tammy Blanchard) and seems to only find companionship in an unlikely young man. The grieving couple fall apart as they try to find their way through their sudden loss. 

The main question that first comes to mind here is why the director (in either the film or the 2006 play) chose to follow the couple 8 months after the loss of their son. If anything, Becca and Howie would be far more emotional in the first few weeks of the death. But regardless, the emotions are at an all-time high in Rabbit Hole and tempers rise at every corner. The film mostly studies the stages of denial and acceptance. Beccas' mother, Nat, is the source of stability here. While sometimes losing herself to a bottle of liquor, Nat constantly contacts her daughter to show her that, while her son may be lost, she still has a family. Dianne Wiest is nothing short of fantastic as Nat and brings a remarkable sense of realism with Nat's love and weakness. No surprise here that the acting is what will bring most attention to Rabbit Hole. After all, it is based on a play. 

For a film about loss, Director John Cameron Mitchell puts in a surprising amount of levity in the form small quirks from every character. These brief bits of humor just keep the film feeling real and pure as we, as humans, can only try to smile in times of sadness. That isn't to say that the actors don't let the grief get the best of them. The moment that Kidman and Eckhart really demand attention is when Becca deletes footage of their child that Howie watches every night. Kidman has never been better, portraying a woman who feels useless without a child to mother. Without her child, she feels that she has no reason to live. Eckhart knows when to raise the tension and when to play with his lines. One moment, Howie can laugh at an action that will suddenly cause him to start screaming at his wife. The film at its' core is a study on the stages of grief and the connections it causes us to experience. 

However, Rabbit Hole finds itself with minor flaws. The pacing for a film with acting of this caliber has to maintain at a high rate or else the audience will find the apparent dragging in the story. Mitchell finds himself falling victim to these moments for just a few brief scenes, but the pacing falters none the less. Thankfully, these moments are saved by the levity and emotion that Kidman and Eckhart bring to their characters. 

Although the release date of Christmas Day doesn't fit it perfectly, Rabbit Hole is an excellent look at not just how grief affects us, but also at how it can unite us at the same time. Saved by incredible performances by all of the actors involved, Rabbit Hole is sure to find a spot in everyone's heart. Get used to hearing the title Rabbit Hole come Awards season. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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