Films | Rabbit Hole – Review

Rabbit Hole – Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on February 18, 2011 | No Comments

FILM – Rabbit Hole

PRODUCER – Per Saari, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Gigi Pritzker, Nicole Kidman, Geoff Linville and Caroline Jaczko (co-producers)

DIRECTOR – John Cameron Mitchell

WRITER – David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay), David Lindsay-Abaire (play)

CAST – Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller, Tammy Blanchard

MUSIC – Anton Sanko

What happens when a perfectly happy family is cut into half by loss? What happens when that loss is sudden, shocking but leaves with no option other than to move on? Is there a rabbit hole which will help cope? Can we escape there? If yes, does it lead to answers?

We don’t know. And neither do the protagonists of this immensely humane tale of sorrow and loss. It could mean the randomness or meaninglessness of the incident that hit them without warning. Or it could mean Alice’s rabbit hole that led her into a strange crazed world almost psychedelic in its weirdness. For this world they have been forced into seems just as strange. Odd, outlandish and crazed with pain. Without a sense of balance, hope or the lightness of love and joy or rules of regular life.

Based on a play by David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole is the story of Becca and Howie, who one ill-fated morning lose their child to a random accident. Both desperately try to cope almost coming to the brink as individuals and as life-partners. The film closes in on this struggle and lays bare the vulnerabilities of people struggling to overcome loss and regain control over their lives.

Becca tries to find a closure in cultivating a friendship with the teenager (himself not free of guilt) responsible for her child’s death. Howie tries to find solace in attachments outside his relationship with Becca, in momentary excitements of hash or a connection of pain elsewhere. Becca’s mother has been going through a similar journey and it is when Becca asks her, ‘Does this pain ever end?’ and she answers, ‘Not really,’ is the reality of the situation comes home. And it is enormous. Because somewhere it is true.

So then how do people move on? Like Becca and Howie do. One step at a time. And maybe sometimes even slower. The film pauses and moves forward beautifully enunciating every such effort, failure and milestone in their journey.

The immensely sad and drowning film has been written with a sensitivity and deep knowledge of human loss. It does not shy away from the darkness of pain nor does it manhandle it for the sake of drama. It does not bury the question of what next, rather amplifies it in its resonate insightful conclusion of there really not being a big ‘next’ in life. Like Eliot said, ‘This is how the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.’ Life’s like that. Pain doesn’t really end at once.

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Ackhart treat their extremely nuanced roles with stunning conviction and feeling. Dianne Wiest as the bereaved and concerned mother of Becca, Miles Teller as the teenager and Tammy Blanchard as Becca’s sister who is about to get married, contribute with depth to well-written, flesh and blood characters.

Turning the page many times means feeling everything that needs to be felt, emptying oneself of it fully and then letting life take its course. It might mean staying in the rabbit hole forever or having to figure it out to fully to get out of it. Whichever it may be the brilliantly evocative film lays it out open to us, like raw sores we don’t often like to look at.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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