One scene from the trailer made me want to watch this film. One. Watch it and tell me you don’t feel the same way:
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Sure, the critical acclaim for Nicole Kidman’s (The Hours) performance certainly helped. After all, she received an Oscar nomination for her role. The movie is a drama, so you might have to be in the mood for that as well. If you’re more of a mainstream movie fan, this is very much a quiet film, very indie, like Closer or The Good Girl.
However, despite following a married couple who mourns for their 4-year-old son, Rabbit Hole has some light moments—in case there was any doubt. Moreover, in Kidman’s words, the dialogue is incredible and super “sharp.”
As I gathered from interviews, Kidman personally wanted Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) to play her other half. I’m sorry, but I can’t see why. He pales in comparison to her portrayal of pain.
Their son dies after getting hit by a car, and when they flashback to that day … OMIGOD. Her eyes. They’re completely drained and empty at seeing her dead little boy. (They couldn’t have gotten a cuter toddler, by the way, which adds—even a little bit—to the heartbreak.)
The rest of the supporting cast is pretty good, though. I don’t think Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) can ever be bad in anything. She plays another grieving mother, who wasn’t in the original play that Rabbit Hole is based on, so kudos on this addition!
Also, I cheered a bit when I saw Tammy Blanchard on screen as Kidman’s sister. I don’t know why exactly; maybe it’s because she’s seared in my mind as the rape victim in another movie, We Were the Mulvaneys. (Sidenote: I had the same reaction when I saw another Mulvaneys actor, Jacob Pitts, on the show, Justified.)
Last, but not least, Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands) joins the cast as Kidman’s mother. Kidman’s character is admittedly toxic for most of the movie, and like mother, like daughter, Wiest mirrors that.
As the cast have said at press cons, the film is hopeful. It’s about being able to live with the grief and move forward. This rings true because from the way Kidman and Eckhart were acting in the first few scenes, I wasn’t sure if the boy was still alive or if it was set after the boy had already died. They were still semi-happy and playing with each other, which echoes the message they want to convey—a marriage can survive such a loss. You can survive such a loss.
One of the coping mechanisms Kidman finds toward the end is something I’ve also discovered recently, after watching the sci-fi show, Fringe. She eventually comes to believe that there’s multiple universes out there, and at least one of them has a happier version of herself.
That’s not to say you won’t shed a tear. I’d like to give a shout out to my favorite scene (yes, it’s better than the angel scene above). It’s when the driver, a teenage boy, apologizes to Kidman for killing her son. I don’t want to ruin it, so I’ll just say it was unexpected, raw, heartfelt, and poignant. If you don’t cry, you’re heartless. Heartless, I tell you.
**I don’t know about you, but whenever I like a movie, I google interviews and such afterward. Here’s one that I found. You’ll hear a bit about Eckhart and Kidman’s acting process for this piece, and a little bit more about Eckhart than you may want to know.