Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Rabbit Hole" (2010) - Movie Review

Calling “Rabbit Hole” a sad film might be undermining it. It is heart wrenchingly tragic. The cruel truth about the post life of a tragedy is that it goes on. That might be the optimistic view of it too but I am talking about the routine of life. Families, friends and everyone surrounding goes on with their lives as they should and so does the affected members though carrying the burden of that tragedy every moment. The routine helps but this is more deeper than to be discarded under the carpets of mundane life. This is confronting it day after day or the denial of it.

Coming from the man who tackled, or more so embraced the concept of sex and sexuality in its bare form (pun intended) comes the most difficult subject to portray. John Cameron Mitchell dissects the decaying life of Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) who lost their 4 year old son Danny to a car accident. The film focuses on their existence 8 months after theirs ended on the streets in front of their house in which they still live.

In all my reviews I rigorously and annoyingly try to state the fact of any feeling of this reviewer towards a person or situation with absolute honesty but I do so not to be righteous. I have this intense sense of pouring out those to my best ability and in the process be very clear to not have any sort of guilt in not acknowledging or presenting the emotions and empathy of mine to its fullest extent. Such that is the obligation I bring forth to cleanse my soul. Now to present the situation of Becca and Howie would not even come near to reflecting the state of their deepest sorrow. I do not have words to put forth sentences to address that.

Becca has quit work to be stay at home mom from what we learn and she is left with staring the walls, corners, doors and floors of this place that are imprinted with Danny’s presence so pristine and fresh. Howie is focusing so hard in directing their tragedy towards some sort of reboot in fresh start that he forgets to address his own grief. Each of them do not talk about the real pain each go through or by this time they have gone through it enough to not even mention about it. Yet we see that they are not ready to talk about whatever it is they can talk about. And at the same time they address it in casual references as if they are eligible and ok to mention it so. “Rabbit Hole” does those moments with a finesse. Unless one has not gone through it and I sincerely wish no one has to go through it, there is no way they can even imagine the pain but the presentation some how makes us to relate.

I am not good at consoling nor at carrying myself when offering condolences but the truth is no one does. No one wants to be out there in that situation. For such a regular occurrence in our lives one would imagine that people would have figured out that part of the equation but it is tragic every time and it is inconsolable. Here is Becca and Howie going through the worst tragedy and we see them as normal human beings. We see how it has changed them and the people around them. Becca has a younger sister Izzy (Tammy Blanchard) who still likes to get in fights and get arrested. She is also pregnant and now Becca deals with that. The undertones of that between them is excruciatingly difficult to watch. Such is between Becca and her mother (Dianne West) who tries to offer advise and help. And aren’t we all troopers to listen when our moms advise? Not. This does not particularly help when Becca’s mom tries to draw similarities between her loss of Becca’s brother. You would see why this upsets Becca.

Nicole Kidman brings two individual films before this to merge in the character of Becca. She was the grieving widow in “Birth” beginning to dangerously get close with a boy claiming to be her husband and then in “Margot at the wedding” as the annoying and judgmental sister. Kidman brings forth these two into a perfect amalgamation wherein we as her friends and family are pricked by her subtle cruelties while at the same time understand where it is coming from. Aaron Eckhart while struggles when he has to emote tears or maybe his character is not so good at it provides a moving performance when his Howie is struggling the same pain as Becca though in different manner. He tries to take control of the situation only to find completely helpless and clueless.

The film does not have a single scene that seemed unprecedented or overbearing. It is true to its element and sticks to its guts in providing one of the saddest film I have ever seen. Not because of the situation we are aware of but because of the lives it has altered. The death is not so much for the dead as someone said it is more for the living. “Rabbit Hole” is wonderfully acted, brilliantly shot and precisely directed. This is not alone a slap on the face to the terribly overblown tear jerkers that are coming out but a baseball hit on their head to not insult the tragedies of human emotions.

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