What does it feel like to lose a young child? I don't knows, I hope never to know, to have to go through that experience but that is what "Rabbit Hole" is about or in fact what it is like some months after losing a child when it is time to try and move on. That does mean that "Rabbit Hole" is a movie which is at times hard going in its look at grief but it also at times entertaining finding smile moments in human nature and unusual friendships. And in this examination of parents grieving and moving on it features 3 exceptional performances and an intelligence and control rarely seen in these sorts of movies.
It's been 8 months since their young son Danny was killed when he ran out in front of a car and both his parents Becca (Nicole Kidman - Bewitched) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart - Love Happens) are dealing with their grief. Howie tries to cling on to the memories and hopes to recreate what they once had whilst Becca blocks it all out, removing those memories and resisting anything which will cause her to deal with the loss. That is except Jason (Miles Teller), the teenager who was driving the car as an unusual friendship forms between them as she takes an interest in his life whilst Howie finds friendship with Gabby (Sandra Oh - The Night Listener) who lost her child 8 years earlier and still goes to group meetings for grieving parents.
I really don't want to say too much about "Rabbit Hole" because it is a movie which works best discovered on your own terms rather than being told what goes on. What I will say is that this examination of parental grief encompasses many aspects from Becca shutting out the memory as she tries to resist confronting her feelings to Howie who clings on to the past and what was normality in the hope they can rediscover what they lost not realising that they can't as life has changed. And in this examination of grief there is drama as things trigger issues such as Becca's sister announcing she is pregnant but there is humour which springs out of situations and human nature. It means that "Rabbit Hole" is deep, dramatic, touching but also an occasionally humorous movie which is entertaining on many levels and one which doesn't spoon feed you information but lets you discover what happened in a natural manner.
"Rabbit Hole" is also a beautiful looking movie and cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco has delivered some beautifully framed scenes and exquisite close ups which reach deep into the soul of the actor. And that is what really stands out about "Rabbit Hole", the acting because it is first rate through out with 3 exceptional performances. Dianne Wiest is spot on as the knowing mum who has dealt with her own grief whilst Aaron Eckhart as Howie is convincing as the husband who wants to recreate what they once had. But it is Nicole Kidman who as Becca is the main focus of the movie who is spellbinding as her portrayal of a mum who has shut out the past feels real and painful for being so.
There are aspects of "Rabbit Hole" I honestly don't get, the whole element of Becca befriending Jason seems weird to me but it doesn't spoil the movie. And that is the thing, "Rabbit Hole" is not perfect there are times when it looks like the actors are acting rather than being but the various levels of emotion, drama and humour going on as well as the performances keeps you glued.
What this all boils down to is that "Rabbit Hole" is a special movie, beautifully constructed and visually gorgeous but with a multi layered storyline to back it up and actors who commit to their characters to make them feel real. It is unsurprisingly hard going at times but it also finds humour from human nature to relieve the heaviness.