WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Howie (Aaron Eckhart) and Becca (Nicole Kidman), who live a perfect life in an affluent neighbourhood, are hit by the tragic loss of their 4-year-old son.
Eight months later, still lost in a valley of inconsolable grief and polarised in their way of dealing with their sorrow, their marriage is on the brink of collapse.
While Becca is pained by the familiar, hiding every reminding object of her son and trying to sell their house, Howie finds comfort in watching a video of his son on his cellphone.
In their quest to heal and rebuild their marriage, they join a therapy group.
Unimpressed, impatient Becca quits. Howie, on the other hand, continues to attend, but spends more time smoking marihuana with another woman (Sandra Oh.)
Becca, in the meantime, reaches out to the teenager (Miles Teller), who unintentionally caused the accident that killed her son, and shares her pain with him.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
We have seen numerous films dealing with parents grieving over the loss of a child, but, I dare say, “Rabbit Hole” is different. Adapted to the screen by playwright, David Lindsay-
Abaire, from his Pulitzer-winning play, “Rabbit Hole” is told with unflinching realism without the melodrama that plagues most formulaic Hollywood movies we are accustomed to.
There is almost no story or apparent conclusion to this film; we are actually watching the aftermath of what has happened and its repercussion on the characters. The characters’
agonising conflicts, their inconsolable misery, and their struggle to heal, are what truly turns “Rabbit Hole” into an emotionally compelling and a thought provoking film.
It’s heartbreaking to watch Howie desperately trying to resume the life and intimacy with Becca, which was abruptly halted eight months earlier. And when he fails, he consoles himself watching a video of his son on his cellphone.
It’s equally heartbreaking to watch Becca, failing to open up and connect with her husband, sister and mother. She seems to be locked in a prison of pain and agony, and there is no
Inevitably, acrimony and arguments between husband and wife flare, and when the damage to their marriage seems irreparable, they come back to their senses and realise that they are both poisoned by the same grief and they both need each other in order to find the antidote and heal.
Nicole Kidman, looking solemn and thoughtful, melts into Becca’s character, deftly maintaining a balance between her sharp wit and torn heart. During the shoot, she shared the house with Aaron Eckhart, who, with his big-grin buoyancy, creates an emphatic, delightful husband, in spite of never having been married or having kids. Watching them performing and interacting is truly delightful.
Being adapted from theatre, most the action occurs inside the house, lending the film a claustrophobic feel. In this case however, this claustrophobia enhances our sense of the
characters’ entrapment and our empathy for them to find a path to emancipation.
This is a touching film, subdued and melancholic in tone and realistic in its approach. It asks tough questions about the way different people cope with tragedy. It doesn’t offer any definite answers, but makes you think about one.
Opens nationwide 4th February 2011