Rabbit Hole is full of spectacular performances, complex character examinations, and a whole lot of despair. It may be a bit overwhelming for the average viewer but those intrigued by emotional exchanges and thought-provoking reflections on death, guilt, blame and healing will find entertainment and a bit of hope amongst all the tearful anguish. It’s certainly powerful stuff and its effectiveness is largely thanks to the cast. While all arrows point to it being Nicole Kidman’s show, the supporting characters oftentimes overshadow her with some truly impressive acting, especially from Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, and Miles Teller.After losing their four-year-old son Danny in a tragic accident, Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie Corbett (Aaron Eckhart) find their lives steadily unraveling. Becca attempts to comfort herself with her mother (Dianne Wiest) and sister (Tammy Blanchard), but at every turn she is reminded of her son and the surmounting guilt she feels for his death. Much to his wife’s dismay, Howie tries to keep the memory of their child alive by surrounding himself in materialistic reminders of the life they once had. As their despondency and desperation reach dizzying heights, Howie turns to support group veteran Gaby (Sandra Oh) for alleviation while Becca reaches out to Jason (Miles Teller), the young man responsible for Danny’s death.
Rabbit Hole covers the same topics of regret, uncertainty, placing blame and coping with loss as 1980’s Ordinary People, or even 2007’s Things We Lost in the Fire and Reservation Road. It’s a topic explored in many films aimed at pleasing critics, but something few mainstream audiences will enjoy – Rabbit Hole in particular has the feeling of a stage play (chiefly because it was adapted from a play by David Lindsay-Abaire) with very few sets, no special effects, lots of close-ups with attention to expressions, extensive focus on the little details of seemingly trivial actions, and plenty of dialogue. The outstanding performances and poignant subjects are what make this film succeed where other run-of-the-mill adventurous dramas become unmemorable.
The scripting is sublime and the conclusion expertly cinches a rocky start. Becca starts as a complicated character, one that is generally difficult to identify with and considerably unmanageable due to her approach of hoarding pent up sorrow. She’s the unstable wild card, while her husband has to remain sensible. As these boundaries begin to shift, the supporting performances become even more spectacular, with careful observations on answerability, responsibility and coping shown from multiple viewpoints. The husband, the wife, the boy at fault, the sister, the mother, neighbors, friends, support group acquaintances and even the dog are affected. While Rabbit Hole might miss the mark on Best Picture of the year, Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, and even Miles Teller will inevitably get awards recognition from critic’s societies nationwide.- The Massie Twins