Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Best of Black Sheep: RABBIT HOLE

Written by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh

Becca: I like that thought. Somewhere out there, I'm having a good time.

There are times in our lives where we all find ourselves falling down a hole we didn’t see coming. We are just merrily making our way through the world we know when suddenly, and when we’re not necessarily paying attention, we find ourselves plummeting. While falling alone can be horrifying enough, tumbling down the same hole with your partner can be incredibly difficult and alienating. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play parents who have recently lost their young son, Danny, to a car accident, in the delicate drama, RABBIT HOLE. Fortunately for them, director John Cameron Mitchell is there to catch them before they hit the ground.

Mitchell made a name for himself when he first wrote, directed and starred in the film adaptation of his own Off-Broadway show, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (click title for review). His exploration of the marginally sexual not only continued its prevalence in his second feature, SHORTBUS, but it would go places most would never dare. In his third and decidedly most accessible work to date, RABBIT HOLE, Mitchell almost abandons sexuality entirely and turns his focus on grief and loss. I use the word, “accessible” loosely, as there is nothing easy about going down this particular hole. David Lindsay-Abaire’s adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play, looks at a couple suffering the unbearable loss of their only child, a story that we have seen a number of times before, and makes it feel like the individual experience it has to be.

Joining Kidman and Eckhart along their journey towards catharsis feels like a privilege, like we don’t really have the right to be there. Each of their experiences is so separate from the other’s, but you can always feel that they are fighting somewhere deep underneath their own hardship to find their way back to each other. Eckhart is strong as a husband who is struggling with doing everything he can not to forget but Kidman is just plain unforgettable. She is doing everything she can to heal, including reaching out to the young boy who was driving the car that killed her son, but she can’t tell if anything is actually working. After all, what level of sadness is needed to let go and see the world the way it once was? That’s the thing about rabbit holes though, both in metaphoric terms and in regards to this film, you’re not the same for having gone down them.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this. Kidman's face is finally moving again after years of Botox and Eckhart is a surprisingly good dramatic actor.

Dan O. said...

I really did enjoy all the scenes with Kidman, but the real treat here was Eckhart who proves that he really can act well in a heart-wrenching drama. Good Review!

Black Sheep said...

I just hope that this fantastic film finds an audience on home video. It was ignored in theatres and at the Oscars (more or less) and that is a shame. There is so much to love about this film. You both singled out Eckhart and rightfully so but there is also a beautiful performance by Dianne Weist and a lovely screenplay.

It is a sad one but it is so worth it and ultimately about healing. We could all use a little of that.