Movie Review: Rabbit Hole (2010)

Posted: December 4, 2011 in Drama
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rabbit hole

Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie  (Aaron Eckhart) have lost their four year old son, who was run over by a car, while chasing the family dog into the street.  They try to cope with the loss the conventional way, through group therapy with other parent with dead children.  Group therapy does not work fir Becca, who doesn’t like people using God to get through the grief process.  Becca’s sister Izzy, (Tammy Blanchard) is pregnant and not married, Becca is resentful of her, because Becca feels that Izzy doesn’t deserve a baby.  Becca’s mom Nat (Diane Wiest) is still mourning the loss of her son, who died of a drug overdose.  Becca resents her mom because she compares the loss of Becca’s brother to the loss of Becca’s son.  After both Becca and Howie drop out of group therapy, they both find unconventional ways of coping with the loss.  Becca starts meeting with Jason (Miles Teller) the teenager who ran over her son.  Jason is trying to cope with the loss himself, by writing a comic book, called Rabbit Hole about a scientist looking for his dead son in parallel universes. Howie starts meeting Gaby (Sandra Oh) who also dropped out of group therapy, and whose husband left her.  Does Becca find solace talking with the boy who killed her son?  Does Howie find solace by having an affair with Gaby?

This is an unavoidably depressing movie.  Maybe I’m used to conventional movies about grief, someone loses someone, they cry, the move on.  But this is one long slog, one painful jolt after another,  and it dismisses religion as a coping mechanism quite early, so there’s nothing to give comfort, and so the viewer just has to sit there and watch them deal with the pain and loss, very slowly, and maybe that’s how the grieving process works, I don’t know, I’ve never lost anyone.  But I also know that this is a movie, and a movie is supposed to be entertaining, and there is very little entertainment here, lots of sadness, some yelling like Revolutionary Road.  There’s just too much here to deal with and precious little answers on how to deal with the grief.  The acting is fine, Kidman and Eckhart try their best, but they are given this morose material and they trudge through it gamely.  But for anyone who hasn’t lost a child, this is a chore.  If I knew what this movie was about, I would have never rented it. Thank God for Diane Wiest, who at least brings some humor into this movie.

Rabbit Hole:  Don’t fall for it.

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