Review: RABBIT HOLE (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Review: RABBIT HOLE (2010)


When comes to explicit material as proven in such controversial movies by the likes of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2001) and SHORTBUS (2006), director John Cameron Mitchell is certainly no strangers to that. However, his third feature comes as a huge surprise -- a complete departure of his usual genre norm by tackling a somber adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's play RABBIT HOLE. There is nothing explicit or particularly controversial of any manner surrounding his new movie here which is a very odd choice of direction for John Cameron Mitchell but he's quick to prove that he's a versatile filmmaker after all. It is reported that John Cameron Mitchell first came attracted by the script that reflected his own personal experience when he was a 14-year-old kid. Back then, he lost his 10-year-old brother to a heart problem. And his experience in the past has clearly shows genuine subtlety in this movie here.

After the accidental death of their 4-year-old young son eight months ago, grieving couples Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) are trying hard to pull themselves together to continue with their mundane life. Both of them have their own way to sustain from losing out their emotions -- Becca spends time isolating herself from most people by doing a lot of meticulous gardening work, while Howie spends every night watching videos of their son on his phone. Like any other grieving couples, they also attend group therapy session with other like-minded parents. But all the emotional confessions does little effect to Becca, where she finds them completely useless. On the other hand, Howie has subsequently befriends a fellow grieving woman named Gaby (Sandra Oh) and slowly develops an emotional bond that can jeopardizes his relationship with Becca one day if he takes the wrong step. In the meantime, Becca is seeking unexpected solace by subsequently meeting up a teenage boy named Jason (Miles Teller) who is responsible for her her child's death.

Movie about grief and overcoming the death of a loved one (in this case, a child) is nothing new at all, and RABBIT HOLE is all about familiar territory we have come to see countless times before. No doubt it's a downer of a movie that is elegantly paced but surprisingly, John Cameron Mitchell's take on this familiar route is surprisingly mesmerizing. Instead of what would be a completely depressing experience likely to offer here, there is an unique balance of emotional rollercoaster and understated sense of humor -- both warm and incisive -- that makes RABBIT HOLE is downright intimately personal and simply poetic enough without being melodramatic than most like-minded genre. Everything in this movie is straightforward, as John Cameron Mitchell paints a remarkably honest canvas that is all about raw and involving without manipulating the audiences for sympathetic tears.

Apart from John Cameron Mitchell's meticulous direction, the cast here plays a major contributing factor that succeeds the movie as well. Both Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart excel in one of their finest performances to date, and certainly deserved a lot of award-worthy recognitions especially come Oscar time next year. Kidman is genuinely powerful with her perfectly understated, yet layered performance. Her icy demeanor and telling gestures alone speaks a thousand word that make her role all the more captivating to watch for. Eckhart is similarly remarkable, while contrasting perfectly with his emotionally-boiling role against Kidman's icy presence. The rest of the supporting actors are also top-notch, with such reliable turns by Sandra Oh and Dianne Wiest as Becca's estranged mother who can't get over her late brother's death.

Emotionally moving, heartfelt and funny, RABBIT HOLE is one of the best movies of the year and I'm looking forward for John Cameron Mitchell has to offer in the coming future. As for the title itself, it actually refers from a comic book created by Jason.

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