Reviews

Rabbit Hole

3

Now that’s what we call a burial plot…

Rabbit Hole review

Seeing is bereaving in this Oscar-nominated weepie, which casts Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as parents struggling to cope with the death of their four-year-old son.

Beginning eight months after the road accident that killed him, Rabbit Hole sees her Becca and his Howie attending grief therapy sessions in the hope they will help them move on with their lives.

While he can’t bear to part with a single drawing or item of clothing, she takes a different tack: befriending the teenager who was behind the wheel, a withdrawn young fellow (Miles Teller) who has found an artistic way of dealing with his own guilt and sense of responsibility.

Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire that was first staged in New York with Sex And The City’s Cynthia Nixon and Mad Men’s John Slattery, John Cameron Mitchell’s drama tackles the pain of loss and the need to heal with tact, insight and no small amount of humour.

The cast is excellent, the stars getting terrific support from Diane Wiest as Becca’s exasperating mother and Sandra Oh as Howie’s pot-smoking confidante. It’s also good visually, DoP Frank G DeMarco mirroring the protagonists’ emotional turmoil with spare, stark compositions bleached of colour and warmth.

Yet while some will no doubt be reaching for the Kleenex, just as many could be left cold by a movie that often feels as schematic and structured as the counselling Becca has such disdain for.

Meltdowns and arguments arrive as if on cue, while the eventual resolution has an artificial quality removed from genuine experience.

On stage it probably looked authentic enough. On film, it seems a little pat.

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