Eye For Film >> Movies >> Rabbit Hole (2010) Film Review
Reviewed by: James Benefield
Rabbit Hole takes a pretty tough subject matter and then threatens to take all the edges off it by adding beautiful cinematography, a discreet soundtrack and Nicole Kidman emoting tastefully. Thankfully it also has some great turns by Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh to roughen it up again, creating at best a curate's egg and, at worst, an exercise in damage limitation.
Eckhart is especially good as Howie, one half of a couple grieving after the death of their son. He attends group therapy sessions and tries to get his life back on track, holding on to his job and only occasionally misbehaving by smoking pot with fellow group therapy attendee Gaby (Oh). Howie's wife Becca (Kidman) is coping less well, at least on the outside. However, she makes the bravest step of them all – Becca gets in contact with the teenager who ran over her son, Jason (Miles Teller).
This is an odd, but potentially revelatory, choice for director John Cameron Mitchell – more known for the full-throttle examinations of sexuality and gender in Shortbus and Hedwig And The Angry Inch. Perhaps this explains his unease with the material, from the tone of the performances through to Rabbit Hole's aesthetic, it doesn't quite shape up. The biggest problem is the cold distance from subject matter; the capturing of grief's dislocation and shock is as frightening as it should be, but it's never underpinned with enough psychological insight or clarity to convince completely.
Being based on a stage play, it's always going to be a film more about the performances and to this extent, the movie works. There are enough touching moments here to make it worth a watch, especially as the film progresses. Even when Nicole Kidman doesn't deliver a performance which is as comparably interesting or nuanced as other performances or elements of the movie, we are still engaged and still care for the characters.
An actor's showcase then, rather than a penetrating look at grief, or a successful, confident career move for its still very talented director.Reviewed on: 08 Jul 2011