Rabbit Hole review (DVD)

This is a more restrained and serious effort from director Mitchell after his outre Hedwig and the Angry Inch and rampant sexfest Shortbus. It's a touching drama about a grieving couple mourning the loss of their four-year-old son, killed by a passing motorist as he was racing out on to the street giving chase to his dog. Eight months after the incident, Becca (Kidman) is still masking her feelings, yet to come to terms with the tragedy, while husband Howie (Eckhart) is trying to pick up their lives and move on.

They are dealing with their grief from completely different perspectives and the two performers are adroitly skillful in delineating their characters' thought processes and feelings. Kidman has the more difficult role. She's playing a woman who is trying to present a semblance of calm to everyone around her – too icily calm in some instances – yet underneath is falling apart, not knowing what has hit her and unable to deal with the situation. Her behaviour towards her mother (Wiest) and sister (Blanchard), though outwardly cordial, soon erupts into familial skirmishes at times, their tiptoeing around as it were causing her further consternation. Kidman rises to the challenge magnificently and is superb, fully deserving of the Oscar nomination she's received. It's not a showy, barnstorming turn but a nuanced and plausible study of a person who's world has crumbled.

She makes contact with the teenager who was driving the car when the accident occurred (Teller gives a nicely balanced portrayal of a terribly confused adolescent awkwardly trying to make the best of the situation) while her husband suggests they attend a support group for grieving parents. She has no time for the god-fearing couples there but Howie is more pragmatic in trying to make the two of them get over the tragedy. it's an easier role for Eckhart to play – more open and willing – but that's not to belittle his talents in any way. He still impressively imbues the character with convincing sadness and frustration, and is a fine foil for Kidman. They play off against one another extremely well, in tune with each other's rhythms, both utterly believable in tackling the hardship they're facing.

It's not all doom and gloom – there are some very funny moments, too. Howie, for example, gets stoned with fellow support member Gaby (Oh), and the scene where they're unable to contain their giggles while poor parents wax lyrical about their loss is hilarious. One really shouldn't laugh, but you can't help doing so nevertheless.

All told, this is a very fine movie indeed, but it's been unfortunately overshadowed by the more bold and forthright dramatic releases on offer of late. It's a small gem of a picture – engrossing, moving and tender. A beautifully realised piece that's well worth a look.

EXTRAS ★★★★★½ Text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in hereText to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in hereText to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here text to go in here

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please tick the box to prove you're a human and help us stop spam.

Comments

No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments