Rabbit Hole boasts an accurate portrayal of the harshness of reality and a talented set of performers able to get this point across. This film studying the aftermath of child loss is emotionally powerful yet a tad underdeveloped, lacking strong character development and a cogent beginning.
PLOT: Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) lost their toddler-age son eight months ago in a car crash, and each is learning to cope with it and move on. Becca is fully committed to putting all of this behind her, but Howie is still holding on to the past more than he should. Though the couple goes to a community-led recovery group every week, neither of them seems to truly recover. To cope, Becca starts meeting and making amends with the teenage driver of the car, Jason (Miles Teller), and Howie starts to smoke pot with Gabby (Sandra Oh) from the recovery group in lieu of going to the actual recovery group. As their marriage and life fall apart, Becca and Howie must learn how to get past the sadness and move on. The plot isn't the most complicated but definitely not lacking excellence. The plot is executed in such a way that with every twist and turn, the audience can feel what the character feels. When one breaks down, we feel it too. When something embarrassing happens, we feel just as embarrassed as the characters in the audience. When things finally come back together, we feel just as relieved as Becca and Howie do. Director John Cameron Mitchell does an excellent job in crafting a film full of emotion.
ACTING: The performances in this film are very well done, with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart stealing the show. Kidman and Eckhart play off each other almost perfectly. Though not the most picturesque couple, the two truly make us believe they were married and in this situation. So much power is expressed through the many memorable scenes just the two of them share. Aside from the main two, Sandra Oh, Miles Teller, and also Dianne Wiest (Becca's mother) and Tammy Blanchard (Beccas sister, Izzy) also did excellent jobs with their parts. Wiest would definitely have to be the the next best after Kidman and Eckhart, putting almost as much emotion into her part as the two leads combined do.
SCORE: The score behind Rabbit Hole is very soft and beautiful. Composer Anton Sanko, who now composes score for modern horror movies (The Possession, Ouija), is presenting what may be his best work yet. Through a a soft-and-simple yet quirky tone, he fits the mood of the film just right.
OTHER CONTENT: Rabbit Hole is overall an intelligent piece of work that leaves a severe emotional impact, but it suffers from a sense of under-development. The film doesn't really have a clear beginning or rising action. In fact, the film feels more like a strict character study than a film at all in some ways. The audience is so focused in on the main characters that they don't notice the fact that the plot seems to drag on until the couple's first fight. It's almost as if the viewer's hit by surprise when the scene comes around. I also believe the film suffers from a lack of backstory; all the audience really knows prior to this situation is that the couple's son is dead. The audience isn't given any information prior to this event but a short home video. I also don't feel like the writer of the screenplay got across the connection between the film's plot and title very well. It's understandable, but the audience doesn't ever know for sure. Maybe the writer crafted all of these flaws within intentionally, but this does not come without a cost.
Rabbit Hole is a very curious and confusing film. The film packs a punch of painful emotion that everyone is able to feel, but it still feels under-developed. It seems a bit more like an unfinished character study, and it almost works. The performances and direction is truly what leads this film out of the rabbit hole and into the light.