From the director of Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell, comes his most accessible film yet. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name, Rabbit Hole is a moving and resonant exploration of grief. The screenplay is written by the author of the play, David Lindsay-Abaire. Mitchell expertly handles the real grief of losing one’s child, without ever lazily pandering to haphazard empathy. He blends the comic aspects of this film flawlessly so that it always seems genuine, although at times bitter and biting.
Kidman’s performance is subtle and gritty. Her turn as the grieving mother is honest and faultless. There’s a brittleness to Becca’s character, behind the uptight front. She’s plagued with guilt, and strikes up a strange relationship with the teenager responsible for the accident. Aaron Ekhart plays her husband, Howie, and also gives a great performance. The film itself insists upon pace, never once losing itself or letting the intensity drop.
The humour of the film is welcome and artful, giving the audience a moments rest to dispose of the heartache unfolding on-screen. The film doesn’t wallow in its own blues, instead opting for poignant and resonant, with most of that credit going to its stars. In a weaker year, Kidman’s performance would sweep the awards but with the stiff competition this year, Rabbit Hole, despite being nominated, will more than likely be overlooked.
Rabbit Hole is released on Friday February 4.