Brevity, minimalism make “Rabbit Hole” powerful

Jackie Scherer, Staff Writer

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart flawlessly portray grieving parents looking to find ways of coping with loss in John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole,” one of the most fantastic and moving films of the year.

Eight months after their four-year old son is tragically killed in a car crash, Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) attempt to piece their life back together. They discuss plans such as selling their house or having another child, but they only hurt their marriage. Meanwhile, each parent tries to cope with the depression; Howie turns to pot and affairs with a woman from group therapy while Becca babies her pregnant sister and finds comfort in an unlikely companion.

Compared to other tragic loss films, the plot of “Rabbit Hole” is straightforward and doesn’t hold any unexpected twists. The uncomplicated plot makes focusing on the development and progression of the characters much easier and doesn’t take away from the objective theme of coming to terms with loss.

The film itself is rather depressing, however. There are too many arguments to count and enough tears to upset the happiest of persons. The subtle attempts at humor––such as Becca’s reference to her sister’s job loss from Applebee’s––seem to darken the film even more, instead of lighten the mood. Despite the heaviness, the film is truly magnificent because it isn’t just another sappy movie about moving on from grief. The simple plot holds attention while the actor’s portrayal of loss is completely realistic.

Both Kidman and Eckhart give perfect performances in “Rabbit Hole.” Their depiction of childless parents gives the viewer an impeccable vision of the pain that comes with losing a child. They expose the vulnerable side of adults through their characters––such as when they fight––while desperately trying to let go of the past and find some happiness in life.