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'Rabbit Hole' Brings Tragedy Truly Back Home

  • Jun 20, 2011
Say what you will about EWTN and the late Mother Angelica, but one of the most poignant and moving episodes of 'Mother Angelica Live' was when a male guest came to talk about his faith and the grieving process he underwent after losing his young son John Paul. At one point the articulate guest said that he had trouble letting go of his grief because it was the one tangible thing he had left of John Paul. In other words, letting go grief--as indescribable and uncontrollable as it may be--may be letting go of the beloved one.

Just like in real life, the couple presented in 'Rabbit Hole' have a young child (aged four in this case) who was killed by a driver. In both cases neither driver was drunk, neither driver left the scene without admitting their part in the tragedy, and both drivers were fairly young.

In 'Rabbit Hole' we have a clear and precise presentation of two parents coming to terms with their loss. Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman have been good on the screen. Eckhart is usually stellar, and Kidman is all over the map, but here she's seldom been better--among her top echelon performances. Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire has adapted his own play to the big screen, and here he never falters, either. His understanding of the ache of both parents is tangible in a way that is emotionally assessible and cathartic for the viewer. We quickly pick up their emotions and find ourself in their fray. Their lives have been stolen from them, and they are desperate to get their lives back on track.

Flanking them in their lives are her mother, a devout Christian, who is still living with the ghosts of her own son's tragic death from a heroin overdose. You cannot help but feel that she would be the key player to make the best emotional appeal to her daughter and son-in-law, but this is not the case: She only makes the wounds fester. Her mother's faith only becomes tinny and sacharrine in contrast to her inconsolable pain. As one finds it hard to hear cheerful words during a migraine, the older mother is no help to her daughter.

Once a week the couple tries to find solace in a group encounter. Expecting to find consolation with others who are grieving over their losses, the couple has mixed feelings about the Alcoholics' Annonymous type testimonials from their peers.

These developments are what steer the movie and make it distinctive. A great deal of the movie's tension springs from the couple, who are inconsolable to one another and find it painful to move on or continue the usual movements of any couple's arrangement. Not finding comfort in one another, they each look to outside sources to find any remedy for their unrelenting anguish.

The husband finds another woman at the meetings who is diversionary enough to bring him some relief, and, ironically, the wife looks to a tragic figure for her own reconciliation with fate. As a hapless teenager, he becomes someone she oddly finds to become the focal point of her grieving process.

While the deliberations are unsettling, the way their presented suspends our disbelief. To mention how and in what ways these prospects unfold would certainly spoil the film. The best aspect of the movie is how intimately we become involved in their lives and can feel the power of its healing resolution that is the goldmine of this poignantl little film.

(I couldn't help but also make comparison with this film and 'Ordinary People,' the Oscar-winning classic from 1980.  Both films show the tangible disintegration of the family unit, and both are ably paced, marvelously edited and acted, and methodically directed.  While I hold the older film dear, and both films are moving in different ways, 'Ordinary People' has more of a crescendo of emotions; while this film hits the guts when you're not looking.  In many ways both movies seem like real life.  While it may be a matter of apples and oranges; in some ways this film feels more like reality TV with a tangile point.)
'Rabbit Hole' Brings Tragedy Truly Back Home 'Rabbit Hole' Brings Tragedy Truly Back Home 'Rabbit Hole' Brings Tragedy Truly Back Home

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June 20, 2011
Very nice review. Great catch on "Ordinary People" and how you commented it as a 'crescendo of emotions'..nice one. This was a good surprise, i wasn't expecting it to be this good when I saw it in theaters. Thanks, JP!
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John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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About this movie


Rabbit Hole is a 2010 drama film starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. David Lindsay-Abaire adapted his 2005 play of the same name, and John Cameron Mitchell directed. Kidman produced the project via her production company, Blossom Films. The film premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival in September. Lionsgate will distribute the film.

It will receive a limited US theatrical release on 17 December 2010 and expand nationwide on 14 January 2011.

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Movies, Drama Movies, Drama, Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, David Lindsayabaire, Dianne West


Genre: Drama
Release Date: 27 October 2010 (France)
Screen Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Studio: Olympus Pictures, Blossom Films, Odd Lot Entertainment
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