Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, some drug use and language, 91 minutes
Finely drawn drama about grieving, loss in “Rabbit Hole”
If someone close to you has died, you often need ways to channel your grief and deal with the loss. “Rabbit Hole” examines the impact that death, loss and grieving have upon a family and the different ways that people deal with it. This low-key drama based on a play is finely drawn, superbly acted and often painful to watch, but is great viewing for the acting alone, particularly Nicole Kidman. Not all of it works perfectly, but the director and actors make it worth seeing.
Upscale middle class couple Becca and Howie Corbett (Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) lose their child Danny when he is hit by a car. Months after his death they’re both struggling to deal with the loss in their own way. Becca chooses to remember him by developing a platonic relationship with the teenage driver who hit their son (Miles Teller) while Howie chooses a support group that Becca loathes. As Becca distances herself from Danny, Howie lives in the past by seeking refuge in outsiders. The Corbett’s find themselves adrift that will force them to make some choices about their future.
Slow-moving but understated with a nice, emotional pull, the compelling performances from leads Kidman and Eckhart highlight the film. The strong direction from John Cameron Mitchell also helps; Mitchell, director of such offbeat independent fare as “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Shortbus” makes for an unlikely directorial choice for a drama like this but it’s a pleasant surprise.
David Lindsey-Abaire adapts his Pulitzer Award-winning play for the film and while much of it works well, the play loses a shade of its intimacy and complexity on screen, though the layered performances from Kidman and Eckhart make it work. They share some powerful moments together and Kidman is particularly effective as the grieving mom letting go of her son in her own way. There are some stellar supporting performances too, particularly Dianne Weist as Becca’s concerned mother and Tammy Blanchard as Becca’s unstable younger sister.
“Rabbit Hole” may have limited appeal but is worth a look for an excellent Kidman turn and a great drama about grief.