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Rabbit Hole

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Rabbit Hole - 4/2/2011 8:55:21 PM   
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Rabbit Hole - 4/2/2011 8:55:21 PM   


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Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Screenwriter: David Lindsay-Abaire
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller, Sandra Oh

Eight months following the death of their son, life for happy couple Becca and Howie (Kidman and Eckhart) has not been easy-going.

When you think of films that dealt with the loss of a child, you would primarily think of classic and recent horror films like Don’t Look Now and Antichrist. Although if you’re going to compare the new film starring Nicole Flirting Kidman, it’s more in the vein of Todd Field’s dramatic and superior In the Bedroom.

Dissimilar to his previous outlandish work, director John Cameron Mitchell tackles the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire (Doubt), which featured Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon and Mad Men’s Tony Slattery. With a production credit by Nicole Kidman who first approached the idea of adapting the play, there is a sense throughout the film that it is an actors’ piece, in which actors get to play characters who moan and self-absorbed to the point they become hateable.

With Rabbit Hole which is about a couple coping with the death of their son, the film does trip into sequences in which characters are having ridiculous arguments with one another, particularly between Becca and her annoying sister. Also, there is a contrived subplot involving Becca encountering a young boy who actually was involved in the son’s death. This seems to be a way of cranking up the high drama, but to no greater good.

Taking its roots from a stage play, there are moments which are too familiar to a play as oppose to film, but Mitchell manages to orchestrate images that are lyrical and tragic, particularly standalone scenes featuring the two stars.

Although she is nominated for the upcoming Oscars, Nicole Kidman is playing a somewhat awkward protagonist, in as much as she thinks her word is the one that matters, as well as expresses herself in the wrong places. She does approach this role with likability, but her performance is one of “for your consideration”.

With Kidman who seems to get all the praise, Aaron Eckhart does have the edge to make the film works, even if everything else fails. Identified with his lack of emotion in his back catalogue, Eckhart’s trademark acting is displayed here as he provides a ferocious performance as a man whose love for his dead son is strong, it is painful for him to let go. As for Dianne Wiest, she does the best performance of the whole film as Becca’s childlike mother who is coping with the death of her son, but unlike her daughter, she blames no one.

Although one might whisper the three words towards the film: “For your consideration”, there are nice performances and enough interesting ideas to make the flaws secondary.

< Message edited by R W -- 4/2/2011 8:56:27 PM >

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RE: Rabbit Hole - 7/2/2011 3:21:26 PM   
Wild about Wilder

Posts: 1677
Joined: 9/4/2010
From: Hertfordshire
I think you can tell this was a play to start with it just didn't seem to grab you, I thought the performances apart from the ever reliable Eckhart were pretty run of the mill & how Kidman got nominated over Noomi Rapace i'll never know?

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RE: Rabbit Hole - 8/2/2011 4:15:08 PM   
Qwerty Norris

Posts: 4011
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Adapting plays to the silver screen tend to be a tricky process in creating something that's truly visual although not so much when it comes to screenplay and performance. 'Rabbit Hole' continues this familiar trend with a script that is witty, moving and genuine throughout – giving what appears to be a brutally honest but by no means savagely depressing portrayal of a married couple struggling to deal with the loss of a child.

The actors as well are all in top form; Kidman provides her strongest turn in what seems like years. Eckhart, if anything, is more impressive in his depiction of the more-grounded other half who displays flashes of rage at the desperate situation. Most striking of all however is relative newcomer Miles Teller who displays a brilliant showcasing of subtlety and it's his turn that is ironically the most heartbreaking and sympathetic of all. If this guy gets the right roles it's inevitable he's destined for a big future in the acting world.

Yet, keeping up with the tradition of stage to screen adaptations it's the case of direction and cinematography where 'Rabbit Hole' falls ultimately short. John Cameron Mitchell, a director who brought a fair bit of panache to his sexually-charged 'Shortbus' struggles to bring much cinematic flair to 'Rabbit Hole', resulting in a film that looks pretty flat and does little to assist the dramatic weight. One slow-motion sequence towards the end of the film depicting a specific tragic event attempts to address this (almost a nod to a particular sequence in Lars Von Trier's 'Antichrist') but instead feels out of step with the rest of the film and consequently doesn't really work despite its intentions.

In spite of this shortcoming however this is a film that's all about and dominated by the performances and the script, so in that respect it would be fair to call 'Rabbit Hole' a success – all being a somewhat muted one. 



Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

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Post #: 4
RE: Rabbit Hole - 25/3/2011 2:06:02 PM   


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Joined: 21/2/2011

This is like the anti-christ to the film Anti-christ, a lighter more realistic look at loss and grief but strangely up-lifting and some comic touches among the horrible subject matter. The issues at hand are hard to empathise with and thus fore will put alot of movie-goers off seeing it but stick with it and it is quite rewarding stuff.
It takes a look at all aspects of grief and from all sides, even some of the minor charachters are important to the grieving process. I would go so far as to say this is actually a very therapeutical film not in a curable fasion just subtly affecting especially to someone who may have lost a child. This is due to its honest take and 'light at the end of the tunnel' approach.
The acting is first rate, depressing at times but always demanding of your attention, dont think ive ever seen Kidman better. Eckhart is also a million miles away from Two-face obviously but really plays the reluctant emotive male part very well.
It has moments of dark humour and an ending that spells things out to its rightful conclusion. The sub-plot of Eckhart's charachter seems a little tacked on compared to Kidman's determination to befriend the manslaughterer of the aforementioned child.
Worth a watch. The most appropriate film that concentrates mainly on loss i have seen.


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RE: Rabbit Hole - 27/3/2011 6:29:47 PM   


Posts: 8874
Joined: 13/4/2006


ORIGINAL: Wild about Wilder

I think you can tell this was a play to start with it just didn't seem to grab you, I thought the performances apart from the ever reliable Eckhart were pretty run of the mill & how Kidman got nominated over Noomi Rapace i'll never know?

That is very harsh, I mean I would agree that Kidman didn't deserve to be nominated, but to say Eckhart was the only noteworthy performance is a bit much, what about Wiest and Oh? Both were excellent for me.

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- 10/7/2011 6:03:15 PM   


Posts: 238
Joined: 5/12/2009
Spoilers I like this film it makes me glad that kidman's character is not a "god freak" I would rather believe in parallel or multiple universes than in god or angels, I'm no scientist but it seems more plausible.

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did you ever hear of DOGVILLE ????? - 6/3/2012 3:24:09 PM   
bill the butcher


Posts: 222
Joined: 21/1/2010
in particular, hasn't been
this good since To Die For''

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did you ever hear of DOGVILLE ????? - 6/3/2012 3:24:11 PM   
bill the butcher


Posts: 222
Joined: 21/1/2010
in particular, hasn't been
this good since To Die For''

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Post #: 9
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