Viewport width =
May 9, 2011 | by  | in Film |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Rabbit Hole

I think it’s safe to say no-one will go into any film about a couple grieving the loss of their child expecting a barrel of laughs—which is the first thing one will assume about Rabbit Hole. It is a hefty topic, which is why director John Cameron Mitchell and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire should be lauded for the tender balance they maintain.

It never goes for all-out schmaltz, nor does it tip too far into a gloomy desolation from which it cannot recover, nor will it arrive at misplaced, overwrought climaxes with Oscar-hungry hands out. It’s a gentle affair whose emotional peaks swell with a natural, human rhythm; while there are plenty of breakdowns and heated moments, they never indicate any sort of manipulative intention.

Mitchell isn’t trying to force us to feel a certain way, which in turn gives his characters greater resonance, because they actually behave like real people. There are tears, there are laughs (who would have thought a film about parental loss would gain its biggest chuckles over a stoned Aaron Eckhart losing the plot at someone else’s sob story?), but it all never feels anything less than human or honest. Healing is a day-by-day process and the quiet sense of hope Rabbit Hole conjures is done so in a way that favours truth over surface-level satisfaction. 

Both Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart—our grieving leads—have never been better. Never have I witnessed Kidman with such wrenching naturalism and tumultuous soul, nor Eckhart so convincingly conflicted: warm, aching, explosive. Both actors have to chart great emotional terrain here and both do so seamlessly, and with elegance to spare. As do the rest of its cast; special mention must go to newcomer Miles Teller, quietly bruised and deftly authentic in a role so frequently leveled to caricature.

As with a lot of cinema, films dealing with this nature of subject matter tend to back themselves into a corner, where they feel they have to jump themselves out through expected hoops; the big emotional resolutions and realizations that a ‘weepie’ demands. Mitchell avoids these trappings altogether; it’ll make you feel without ever feeling like it’s trying to. And credit that to the compassionate, honest spirit at its centre—a product of its pace, pitch and performance.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. Losing Metiria
  2. Blind Spot
  3. Aspie on Campus
  4. Issue 17
  5. Australian Sexual Assault Report Released
  6. The Swimmer
  7. European Students Association Re-emerges
  8. Can of Worms!
  9. A Monster Calls — J. A. Bayona
  10. Snapchat is a Girl’s Best Friend and Other Shit Chat
LOCKED-OUT

Editor's Pick

Locked Out

: - SPONSORED - The first prisons in New Zealand were established in the 1840s, and there are now 18 prisons nationwide.¹ According to the Department of Corrections, the prison population was 10,035 in March — of which, 50.9% are Māori, 32.0% are Pākehā, 11.0% are Pasifika, a