One of the only guarantees in life is that it ends and throughout our lives we must find ways to cope with loss. Oftentimes, when we lose someone close to us, many questions remain in their absence, and for those that affect us the deepest we wonder what happens now? In Rabbit Hole, everyone deals with grief in different ways, and no one has the same answer to that question.
Rabbit Hole tells the story of Becca and Howie Corbett (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart), who eight months previous lost their four-year-old son, Danny, in a car accident in front of their house. Now, Becca and Howie each must return to their everyday lives and each of them copes with the loss in different ways. Becca reaches out to Jason (Miles Teller), the teenager who hit and killed her son. Howie finds solace in a support group and then later smokes pot and hangs out with Gabby (Sandra Oh), a woman he met at the group. Becca and Howie must learn how to reconnect with each other and how to go on with their lives.
For her role in Rabbit Hole, Kidman earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and she couldn't be more deserving. Kidman's performance may be one of her best in nearly a decade. Her portrayal of a grieving mother is poignant, pulling at your heartstrings and also relatable. You can't help but ache for Becca.
One of the most powerful moments in the film comes near the beginning when she and Howie are at the support group. One couple goes on about God's plans and believes He just needed another angel. Becca interrupts the couple, questioning why God would need to do that when he could just make a new angel. Where some people find comfort in spirituality after the loss of a loved one, Becca finds uncertainty and anger.
Eckhart may not have been nominated for an Oscar, but his role in Rabbit Hole was nevertheless exceptional. Howie finds comfort in having Danny's toys and smudged finger prints around, whereas Becca sees only pain in the constant reminders. When Becca accidentally deletes a video of Danny on Howie's phone, he breaks down and we get a glimpse at his pain.
Much of Becca's frustration comes from her mother's (Dianne Wiest) comparisons of losing her son, Becca's brother, and Becca losing Danny. Ideally, this would be the person Becca could lean on most, but she hates the comparisons because her brother was a 30-year-old drug addict who overdosed, and Danny was a four-year-old boy who was hit by a car. Becca's mother provides some of the film's most sound and moving advice about mourning. She compares it to a rock you pull yourself out from under, but still carry around with you like a heavy brick in your pocket.
The film portrays pain in various ways, each different for the individual. Because the film starts after the most painful event has happened, we are spared the emotional agony that could drag down the film and the audience. Becca's pain remains bottled up until certain reminders force it out and she explodes. For both Howie and Becca, their pain becomes most evident in their interactions with other people. Becca displays quiet desperation when her sister announces her pregnancy; Howie trips over his words and says too much at an open house showing Danny's bedroom. Pain comes across in many ways ; from the friend who can't face Becca to her complete crying breakdown.
Rabbit Hole affects some of us more than others, but still makes you think. Maybe you haven't lost your son; perhaps it was your father, wife or friend. No matter who you've lost or what the reason, we're all left with many questions. Rabbit Hole asks the question, what do we do now? By the end of the film, Becca and Howie begin to answer that question, just as we all do eventually.
Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart,
Dianne Wiest, Sandra Oh.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell.