Saturday, September 18, 2010


Rabbit Hole
John Cameron Mitchell's (Shortbus, Hedwig and the Angry InchRabbit Hole just might be my favourite film of TIFF 2010. Howie and Becca Corbett (Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman) are the couple with everything. A beautiful home and an adorable four year-old son Danny. That is, until the day he gets hit by a car in front of their home and dies tragically.

The story begins after the loss as we see Howie and Becca try to cope with the death of their son, attending support groups and from here we get a sense of how this tragedy has caused a divide in their relationship. Becca is jaded and skeptical - lying beneath the surface is an undercurrent of suppressed rage. Howie has an open heart and is willing to seek help and it is Becca's unwillingness to seek help that causes strain between them.

We see Becca turn to her mother played perfectly by Dianne Wiest for support, but at the same time aims her anger at her mother for failing to understand her struggle. We see Becca blow up also at those around her including her neighbour, sister and even a woman randomly while doing groceries. Howie continues to attend Group Therapy alone and befriends another mourning mother played by the brilliant Sandra Oh.  With tensions mounting between Howie and Beckie, we find Howie further drawn to Oh's character.  In addition to Howie engaging in an emotional affair with someone else, Becca seeks resolve secretly with the boy who killed her daughter accidentally, Jason (Miles Teller).  It is in him and not Therapy that she is able to get her own sense of closure and forgiveness.

Mark my words - Kidman's controlled performance in Rabbit Hole has her digging even deeper than she did in her Oscar-winning turn in The Hours.  With an already tight ensemble cast in this film, her work shines brightest of all.  To transform someone unlikable into someone we feel nothing but empathy for, is a great achievement and her performance resonates.  Eckhart also delivers a multi-layered performance and we get from them a sense of the couple's deep history even without the presence ever of seeing their son on-screen.  This is perhaps one of the strongest films to be made about Couples' Drama since the superb Little Children.

I loved Rabbit Hole and can't wait for you to see it too.  Released through Maple Pictures in Canada, it is now in theatres.  Grade: A+

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