Below are a few Rabbit Hole reviews that I’ve come across today. I’m not going to be posting many reviews here at the moment, mainly because I think it’s nicer for you to be able to search for them yourself on Google and see the whole range of them! Here are a few that stood out for me:
Nicole Kidman is just astonishing in Rabbit Hole — subtle, fierce, brutally funny, tender when you least expect it, and battered by the feelings that hit her when she forgets to duck. Kidman plays Becca, a mother coping with the impossible fact that six months ago a car struck and killed her four-year-old son as he ran into the street. You can’t deal with that. But Becca must. So must her husband, Howie (a superb Aaron Eckhart). They try the usual routes, from God to grief counseling, but they need to carve their own path without destroying their marriage.
Out of unspeakable sadness, David Lindsay-Abaire, brilliantly adapting his play for the screen, creates a movie that uses humor as a kind of healing. It’s a rough road, and director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus) doesn’t smooth the ride with glib good intentions. This haunting and hypnotic movie blinks back tears in favor of taking on the world, not running from it. Becca hilariously skewers the hypocrisy she finds in grief therapy and harangues her mother (Dianne Wiest), who lost a grown son, for comparing her sorrow to Becca’s. Mitchell directs with remarkable skill and compassion without ever going soft on the characters. Kidman, doing her best work in years, just comes at you. Her final scene with the splendid Wiest, who builds her character with uncommon feeling, is devastating. So is the movie. It takes a piece out of you.
She needs help finding somebody’s number on her husband’s cell phone. He walks over to help, and they stand inches apart. A year ago, in their tender, decent marriage, she’d have concluded the lesson with a lovingly automatic kiss. Now she can offer only a wan smile and a thank-you. It’s not a rebuke, just the maximum amount of grace a grieving woman can summon.
Eight months after the death of their young son in a car accident, Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) are still in a kind of walking shock, adjusting to their misery, feeling that the best part of them died in the accident. Becca seems more deeply mired in remorse than Howie, but being close reminds them only of their estrangement from each other. They could both use a change. Can Howie find warmth in another woman and Becca, somehow, in another son? Perhaps she can take comfort in the notion of parallel universes: that this world “is just the sad version of us” and that “somewhere out there I’m having a good time.”
The story of a couple who have lost their only child: there have been so many of those, so many books and movies and Lifetime dramas, most of which pluck the heartstrings like a cheap fiddle, that simply to hear the plot of Rabbit Hole could induce a case of mourning sickness. But the tone achieved by writer David Lindsay-Abaire (adapting his Pulitzer Prize—winning play) and director John Cameron Mitchell (who did the splendidly rambunctious indie films Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus) is fine and generous, an unbroken series of poignant, privileged moments.
Kidman, in a career-best performance, and Eckhart lend pitch-perfect calibration to the couple’s shared or separate agony, which is conducted often in whispers and silences. It’s as if previous treatments of the subject were a series of failed experiments, and Rabbit Hole is the Eureka! moment. This is how movies can bring a great, grave theme to indelible dramatic life.
Movie review: ‘Rabbit Hole’
Nicole Kidman brings remarkable empathy to the role of a mother coping with the death of her young son, but the movie is otherwise safe.
A tragedy devastating to experience can feel generic when transferred to the screen, and that, despite everyone’s best intentions and an outstanding performance by Nicole Kidman, is what happens with “Rabbit Hole.”
Screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire’s play about a married couple trying to cope with the accidental death of their 4-year-old son was nominated for five Tonys and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and it’s likely that the intensity and intimacy of the theatrical experience was a factor in its success.
As a film directed by John Cameron Mitchell, however, “Rabbit Hole” finds its focus diluted. Though effective in moments, largely thanks to Kidman’s elegant, delicate performance, the piece as a whole feels earnest and well-meaning but rarely compelling, a film that is almost too decorous to be as involving as it should be.
Husband and wife Howie and Becca live in a beautiful house in a friendly suburban neighborhood, but “Rabbit Hole” immediately signals us through Anton Sanko’s spare score that all is not well in their neck of the woods.
Kidman’s Becca may look happy enough planting flowers in her backyard, but she is deeply mourning her loss. It’s typical of the film’s weakness for the obvious that a neighbor who comes over to invite her and Howie to dinner ends up stepping on one of those carefully made plantings. Ouch.
Though in theory Howie and Becca are united in their grief over the death of their son eight months ago, in practice they are on different wavelengths. It’s not so much that their ideas are in conflict as that they differ in how extensively to implement them.
Howie ( Aaron Eckhart) may still sneak glimpses at old cellphone videos of his son but in general he is ready to continue with life. He benefits from the support group he and Becca go to and is even considering, though his wife definitely is not, having another child.
If Howie’s reactions are very straightforward, Becca’s are anything but, and it is a tribute to Kidman’s great skill that she captures all of this character’s nuances and contradictions.
On the one hand, Becca is quicker to get rid of her son’s clothes and take his childish artwork off the kitchen walls, but that is just a mask for her intense pain. She may look like she’s coping, but under the surface she is still a wound-tight wreck.
Tart-tongued and implacable, Becca lashes out at everyone around her, starting with Howie but not ending there. She snaps at her God-fearing mother, Nat ( Dianne Wiest), when she tries to offer comfort and is annoyed at her party-animal sister Izzy ( Tammy Blanchard), especially when Izzy reveals that she has just gotten pregnant. When Becca is in a mood, nothing anyone else says is anything but wrong.
Though both husband and wife are in terrible shape from the same cause, “Rabbit Hole” posits that what could have brought them together is pulling them apart. There is no room in either of their lives to take on the spouse’s pain, and when Becca randomly catches sight of a high school student (Miles Teller) whose face she knows, a whole other dynamic comes into play.
While the film’s actors are all capable, it is Kidman we want to watch most of all. When she is distraught and in pain, we can feel it, underlining how satisfying it is to see this actress take on a role that makes such good use of her great gift for naturalistic acting.
“Rabbit Hole’s” themes are strong, the questions of how we work through grief and go about reconnecting with life are unquestionably valid ones, but an air of genteel familiarity stifles their impact here. A story of people perched precariously on an out-of-control ledge is not well served by a movie always on its best behavior.
Review: Kidman shines in painfully honest ‘Rabbit Hole’
Sometimes things happen in life that knock you right off the path you had mapped out for yourself and send you reeling.
It’s only when you’re outside in the dark that you look back and see that the safety zone you always took for granted wasn’t a safe zone at all — just a temporary reprieve from disaster. At least, that’s how it appears from that vantage point. Then the question arises: how to get back in? How to recover from an irreparable loss?
This is where Becca and Howie Corbett find themselves — still outside looking in — a year after their 4-year-old was struck and killed by a passing car. The accident wasn’t anybody’s fault; it was everybody’s fault. They don’t blame each other; they both blame themselves.
Their marriage has grown thorns. It’s raw, abrasive and hurts so much they can barely find the energy to maintain a truce behind closed doors. But then the alternative is even more painful, too disturbing to contemplate.
David Lindsay-Abaire’s Tony- and Pulitzer-winning play forces us to think about a scenario no parent wants to imagine. It comes to the screen through the patronage of Nicole Kidman, who gets a producer credit here as well as one of those rare movie roles that can draw her out of her shell.
Kidman is an intriguing case, a star who can seem trapped beneath her brittle porcelain beauty, but who has also ventured further and wider than most, taking on risky, uncommercial projects like “Dogville,” “Birth” and the Diane Arbus movie, “Fur.” The last time she found a role this layered it was the monstrous writer in “Margot at the Wedding”, a part she played so ruthlessly audiences practically ran screaming for the exits.
This time, at least, she can be sure of engaging our sympathies, even if the material is too depressing to bring in large crowds.
Becca’s actions can be cruel. She’s cold with Howie (Aaron Eckhart — also excellent), can’t disguise her contempt for group therapy (she quits before they throw her out), and she mortifies her husband when she gives away their son’s wardrobe without a word of warning. She keeps her emotions locked tight. But unlike Howie, we can see what it costs her, having those clothes in the house.
When she starts stalking the teenager who killed her boy (Miles Teller), we have no way of knowing which way she’ll jump — it’s an irrational urge that Kidman makes utterly and immediately human.
The director is John Cameron Mitchell, a filmmaker previously known for the assertively camp “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and the bohemian rhapsody, “Shortbus.”
“Rabbit Hole” is a complete about-face, a modest, restrained, introspective piece, so self-effacing you wonder if it might be the work of some other John Cameron Mitchell — his boring, straight father, perhaps?
It’s not all roses. I never believed Kidman’s polished Becca was related by blood to Dianne Wiest or Tammy Blanchard (as her embarrassing mother and screw-up sister, respectively), and though the relationship between Becca and the teenager develops with delicacy and tact, it still feels a bit precious and stagy.
Much better is the heartrending, tragic-comic scene when Eckhart’s Howie takes it upon himself to show the house to prospective buyers, only to fall apart when they come to the nursery. In a handful of moments like this, the irreproachably compassionate “Rabbit Hole” isn’t just well written and beautifully acted, it’s simply devastating.
Movie Review: Rabbit Hole Finds a New, Powerful Perspective on Grief
It doesn’t take much for a work about a dead or dying child to rip you apart, which is why it’s not unreasonable to demand an artist leave you with something more than shock and grief — something like the title metaphor of David Lindsay-Abaire’s play Rabbit Hole, which is meant to evoke both Lewis Carroll and Stephen Hawking. The title alludes to a damaged teenager’s self-penned comic book, which describes a universe of parallel time lines and multiple realities; and, on a narrative level, it resolves nothing. It’s the least banal solace imaginable.
John Cameron Mitchell’s film of Rabbit Hole (from a screenplay by Lindsay-Abaire) is very fine. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play Becca and Howie Corbett, an affluent New York suburban couple still dazed, after eight months, from a tragic loss. The details of that event are revealed in tiny installments, a striptease that in other works (21 Grams, e.g.) can be noxious but here makes you watch what’s in front of you more closely. Broadly speaking, Howie is willfully, stubbornly stuck. Back from the office, he turns to old home videos the way junkies reach for the needle. He wants to stay in that enormous house and leave everything just as it was. But Becca, who left her job when she had a son and has little to do now, gropes her way toward the next stage of grief, aware that if she stays where she is, something in her will die.
Alas, I missed Rabbit Hole onstage with Cynthia Nixon and John Slattery, but did see Lindsay-Abaire’s absurdist Fuddy Meers, which also centered on a wife’s bumpy journey to enlightenment and had an aspect of Alice in Wonderland. Fuddy Meers was satire with a vein of despair; Rabbit Hole is drama with a vein of satire. Becca comes from a working-class Long Island family with a history of drug abuse and dysfunction. Her job at Sotheby’s, her marriage, her move to an affluent suburb, her beautiful home with a beautiful son and a big dog: It has all melted into air. Yet her new world is incapable of acknowledging death.
As has been observed elsewhere, Kidman has apparently regained the use of her forehead — and the improvement is not just cosmetic. When actors get “immobile,” they sever (or, at very least, dull) the link between their features and emotions. In Australia, Kidman had the expressive range of The Wizard of Oz’s Tin Woodsman; you could almost hear the actress inside her whimpering, “Oil can … ” It mattered because there was an actress inside her — and because her entire career had been, until that point, a quest to overcome a certain Barbie Doll blankness. Such self-sabotage! The Kidman in Rabbit Hole is a revelation. She has chosen, shrewdly, to underline two things: Becca’s righteous anger and the awareness that her anger isn’t going to take her very far. At a painfully sensitive grief therapy meeting, she bridles and then snaps when a father asserts that what happened to his child was “God’s will.” She lashes out at her mother (Dianne Wiest), who lost a much older child under vastly different circumstances and tries to tell Becca that the tragedies were comparable. In Kidman’s face you see a woman who has no idea what to do but knows she must do something. That’s when, by chance, she looks into a school bus at a stoplight and sees the teenager, Jason (Miles Teller), who changed her world forever.
What happens between Becca and Jason is too fragile to chart and there is, perhaps, a touch of wish fulfillment at work in Lindsay-Abaire’s writing. But in his minefield of a role, Teller is wonderful — first off-putting, then irrationally likable. His Jason is in shock and likely to remain so — and also to remain half-formed, arrested at a stage in which he’s likely never to find himself.
When playwrights “open out” their plays for the screen, they often break up and pad out their poetry to the point where it becomes prose, but Lindsay-Abaire and Cameron Mitchell have been able to move Becca and Howie around without dulling the dramatic arc. (They go off key in only one scene, in which Becca objects to a mother rebuking her child in a supermarket.) There’s a great, irreverent vibe in the scenes between Eckhart’s Howie and Sandra Oh as a mother in the grief group: They get stoned in a car and burst out laughing when they hear the word “leukemia.” Eckart is howlingly funny in a scene in which Howie shows the house to prospective buyers and can’t keep from enthusing about his child’s hovering presence: He has a glint of madness. Beneath its tidy surface, Rabbit Hole depicts a universe in which nothing makes sense, nothing fits, in which our best consolation is the dream of a world on the other side of a black hole — the one variation out of billions in which everything in our life falls into place.
An honest exploration of grief emerges from ‘Rabbit Hole’
Rabbit Hole is a finely tuned portrait of grief that takes its time unfolding, much like the actual process of mourning.
Nicole Kidman does some of her best, most nuanced work as Becca, a brittle but complicated mother mourning the loss of her young son. Aaron Eckhart, who plays her loving husband, Howie, is more open about his suffering, burrowing into familiarity, while Becca tries to distance herself and bury turbulent emotions in calming acts of domesticity. Her despair seeps out in unexpected ways.
INTERVIEW: Nicole Kidman hops back into limelight
TRAILER: Get a peek into ‘Rabbit Hole’
Both Becca’s and Howie’s reactions are wholly understandable, authentic expressions of their characters, which are well-developed and delicately shaded. They retreat to their separate corners when the anguish becomes unbearable. When they do come together, he laments that Becca is “erasing” their boy by removing his photos and giving away his clothes. She strikes back, saying he makes it seem she’s not “feeling enough” to satisfy him. Deftly directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), these wrenching scenes ring deeply true.
As moving as Kidman and Eckhart are in this low-key, graceful domestic drama, the standout performance is a subtly poignant one by Miles Teller. He plays Jason, the teenage boy who, while driving, inadvertently kills Becca and Howie’s son. His face is etched with remorse, and his halting, unlikely friendship with Becca is the highlight of the story, the twist that makes this tale unique from other stories of unimaginable loss.
Teller is brilliantly awkward, as only a 17-year-old boy in this terrible situation could be. Becca is yearning for a way to make sense of a tragedy that can never be fully absorbed. By making a tentative connection with this particular teenager, you sense how complicated her torment is. She is trying to hold on to her son, take a step toward forgiveness and perhaps also imagine, through this older boy, what her child might have grown up to be like. It’s heartbreaking on so many levels.
Another stellar performance is that of Dianne Weist as Becca’s warmhearted mother. Their relationship feels genuine as they come together in fits and starts. Prickly Becca lashes out, and her emotional mother retreats into hurt feelings.
One scene perfectly captures the film’s essence. During a mundane household task, Becca asks her mother, whose 30-year-old son died of heroin addiction, if the pain of losing a child ever goes away.
“No,” her mother tells her with aching honesty. “It changes. The weight of it. At some point, it becomes bearable, and you forget about it for a while. But it’s what you’ve got instead of your son, so you carry it around.”
Rabbit Hole is profound and superbly acted, with a moving script superbly adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer-winning play. Mercifully, there are no sappy Hollywood moments injected into this spare drama.
Amid the melancholy, there is a glimmer of resilience and a hope for redemption that feels hard-won.
Movie Review: Nicole Kidman Gives Her Most Powerful Performance in Years in Rabbit Hole
Review in a Hurry: Go down the Rabbit Hole with the Corbetts (Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart) as they cope with the death of their young child. Not as wrist-slitting as that sounds, this searing family portrait is honest, humorous at times and worthy of kudos for Kidman and the cast.
The Bigger Picture: There’s nothing like black wit to lighten and even illuminate the darkest of subject matters. Case in point: This adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, directed with a deft and delicate touch by John Cameron Mitchell.
Suburban couple Howie (Eckhart) and Becca Corbett (Kidman) are returning to their everyday lives in the wake of a sudden, tragic loss. Eight months earlier, their 4-year-old son, Danny, was killed by a car when he ran into the street.
The two are emotional polar opposites who grieve and heal in vastly different ways. Howie clings to memories and tries to save his marriage through group therapy. Becca, however, remains guarded, rids their home of reminders (Danny’s clothes, drawings, etc), and resists her hubby’s romantic overtures.
So Howie shares a flirtation and a few joints with another woman (Sandra Oh), while Becca seeks a connection with the teenager (Miles Teller) involved in the fatal car accident.
Rabbit hops around the traps of sentimentality and maudlin clichés to create a realistic portrayal of grief and explosive family dynamics. The film, which never feels stagy despite the source material, relieves the tension with funny, biting observations, especially about therapy.
Kidman gives her most powerful performance in years, and those who would accuse of her being frigid onscreen most likely aren’t paying attention. Yes, her character is distant, sometimes unlikable, but the actress gives glimpses at the raw nerves and turbulent emotions right below the tightly controlled surface.
The stellar cast includes Dianne Wiest, ditsy and heartbreaking as Becca’s mom, who desperately wants to ease her daughter’s pain but only frustrates her more.
Plus, you gotta love any flick that features Oh smoking dope while listening to David Soul’s “Don’t Give Up On Us.” Priceless.
The 180—a Second Opinion: If you’re wanting to escape your own holiday drama with the relatives, this probably isn’t the feel-good fluff you’re looking for.
‘Rabbit Hole’ review: Kidman gives a stunning performance as a woman facing an unbearable loss
Becca Corbett lost her 4-year-old boy. And so far her coping strategy has been not to cope at all.
It’s been nine months since the accident. Her time apart from him has lasted nearly as long as the time he spent inside her. Yet there’s no end to the grieving, because she’s afraid to let it truly begin.
So she pushes away the memories. Changes the subject. Keeps herself busy. Sits through that dealing-with-grief group her husband drags her to, arms defiantly crossed.
And tries not to face the fact that Danny’s funeral buried her, too.
Becca is the heroine of the unsparing “Rabbit Hole,” and spending an hour and a half in her company is a challenge. She pushes her husband away and snipes at her mother and sister. She’s angry. She’s rude. She doesn’t act the way she “should” act.
She acts the way people do.
A Pulitzer Prize winner, “Rabbit Hole” also won a Tony for original Broadway star Cynthia Nixon. You’d think Nixon would have used some of that “Sex and the City” money to buy up the rights and ensure that she starred in the movie version as well.
Yet you never regret that Nicole Kidman ended up being the actress who got this made.
Kidman has always had a chilly beauty, her great breakthrough coming when she used that icy reserve (and exploited some people’s cynical roman-a-clef assumptions) to play the cool, anything-to-get-ahead wife of “To Die For.”
Lately, though, she’s tended toward messier women, her increasingly masklike countenance belying their roiling emotions. She’s back to playing another queen of control here.
Except, ironically, the tamped-down Becca isn’t really in charge of anything — least of all her own life.
Keeping Becca at the heart of the story is the work of screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire, who’s deftly adapted his play. The work of director John Cameron Mitchell, too, whose last two films — the flashy “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and fleshy “Shortbus” — hardly prepare you for the calm focus and clear storytelling here.
But while Becca is the heart, she’s not the only character. There is her mostly decent husband, Aaron Eckhart, who finds his own way to grieve, and makes his own mistakes. There is her underestimated mother, Dianne Wiest, whose wisdom her daughter can’t bear to hear.
But mostly there is Kidman, who thrillingly mixes fire and ice, her burning sarcasm only occasionally doused by her obsession with useless detail (the flowers in her backyard must be planted just so, the crème brûlée properly, lovingly caramelized).
She is not an easy woman to like — there is no reason why she should be — nor is this an easy movie to watch, especially if you’re a parent, or even just in a relationship. Because Becca and her husband aren’t bad people. In fact they’re rather good people.
But a tragic loss has taken them down the rabbit hole. And where they have ended up is an upside-down land where you only lose the things you can’t afford to, and only truly hurt the people you most adore.