Becca and Howie Corbett are a happily married couple whose perfect world is forever changed when their young son, Danny, is killed by a car. Becca, an executive-turned-stay-at-home mother, tries to redefine her existence in a surreal landscape of well-meaning family and friends. Painful, poignant, and often funny, Becca's experiences lead her to find solace in a mysterious relationship with a troubled young comic-book artist, Jason - the teenage driver of the car that killed Danny. Becca's fixation with Jason pulls her away from memories of Danny, while Howie immerses himself in the past, seeking refuge in outsiders who offer him something Becca is unable to give. The Corbetts, both adrift, make surprising and dangerous choices as they choose a path that will determine their fate.Written by
John Cameron Mitchell's piece is the most simple film of the year, yet one of the best. Please do not confuse simple with simplistic. It's a rather complex turmoil of emotions that come together to provide an intense account of a couple coping with their son's death. However it is done in such a clean and polished manner that one might wonder if the secret of success lies on the "simple" process of feeling the imagery and capturing the visual style. It's extremely effective and gives room to the actors do what they do best. Rabbit Hole is not about the loss, but how to cope with it and how hard and emotionally heavy it can be. Through day-to-day actions people try to forget, believing that the solution lies on the non-existence, but the truth is that facing reality is much more efficient. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart prove that point by engaging the audiences in the dimension of their loss through significant and remarkable character development. This is to say that their performances are astounding, but much more important than that they don't feel like performances: they feel real. Though it may be hard to avoid getting into the field of sentimentalism, both actors manage to escape the melodrama and focus on what is real: going to work every day, cleaning the house, going to group therapy, baking, playing squash, reading In the process there is an intrinsic desire to confront the situation, but it's too hard. It becomes physically painful and intellectually devastating. Men and women are different to the extent of physical appearance since when it boils down to the bare essential, the human being just wants one thing: to cope with their existence. It's not about sex, procreating, loving it's accepting that people die.
Through a rather simple and undesirable situation, John Cameron Mitchell (who also suffered a loss that would become a part of his childhood) manages to express himself visually in such a liberating way that makes the dark humor all the more interesting. It is not by chance that the viewers are forced to face nature so many times. The characters are small compared to their environment; they wonder everyday what it's like to be a part of that almost intangible world of the absence of thought, just living. In fact, nature provides the perfect antagonist to our characters. They don't blame the kid that killed their son, but the circumstances, circumstances bigger than God, than the dimension of nature and the peacefulness that surrounds it. Rabbit Hole gains strength through the little pieces, the little moments of bondage and the little moments when people actually try to understand, when they stop to feel and let go of their anger and frustration. It's not easy to write a movie like this and it certainly isn't easy to direct it or act in it. But all the pieces come together to offer an amazing film. It's incredibly rewarding to see the fight against irony and the fight against the self while the cycle is reaching its final steps. Haunting!
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