2010 Running time: 91 Certificate: 12 Rating: 4

Synopsis

In the slow-burning, deeply-felt descent into grief that is Rabbit Hole, Nicole Kidman delivers a sublimely nuanced performance as the young mother trying to come to terms with the loss of a young child. Subtle support comes from Aaron Eckhart as her uncomprehending husband while the dialogue - based on the play by David Lindsay-Abaire - quietly crackles with authenticity. It's a movie of tiny gestures and knowing looks shot through with a wicked black humour. It's also a life-affirming treatment of a terrible tragedy.

Director

  • John Cameron Mitchell

Cast

  • Nicole Kidman

  • Aaron Eckhart

  • Dianne Wiest

  • Miles Teller

  • Tammy Blanchard

Review

Wealthy white suburban couple Becca and Howie Corbett (Kidman and Eckhart) seem to have it all.

The luxury clapboard mansion in upstate New York, the lakeside view, he's got the high-paying career and she the leisurely life of a lady-who-lunches.

What they haven't got is a child. That's not because they never had one...because they did. But he died. Aged four. After being struck by a car outside their idyllic home.

Conveying the mental anguish surrounding the death of child is fraught with difficulties, normally resulting in the mawkish, the unbearably glib or phonily hollow.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch director John Cameron Mitchell's sensitive adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's Broadway play makes no such mistakes.

Helped by a beautifully calibrated performance from Kidman - possibly a career best - he accentuates the positive while never trivialising the subject.

We join Becca and Howie some months after the tragedy. Both are emotionally adrift, unable to move on but have very different ways of dealing with it.

She rejects the path of support groups, more often than not invoking the Almighty, and cannot suppress a bitter bile rising when her feckless sister Izzy (Blanchard) announces she's pregnant.

Bizarrely, she follows the young student driver (Miles Teller) and ends up having cathartic chats with the youngster (a decent chap not a boy racer) that help them both.

Howie half-heartedly continues the grief counselling but is distracted when fellow-attendee Gabbee (Sandra Oh) invites him to share a pot bong in her car...and maybe the chance of a no-strings affair.

The mood - more often than not - is one of quiet desperation and grim resignation. It's up to Becca's mother Nat (Dianne West, excellent), to volunteer the little wisdom that jump starts a coping mechanism.

Touching and wise.

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