Thursday, 9 June 2011

Rabbit Hole, empty as the rabbit is never there

This is the story of a couple, bottled in sadness and intense pain disappearing in the emptiness of a rabbit hole, empty because the rabbit is never there, just the hole, staring on their faces...

Both Nicole Kidman as Becka, and Aaron Eckhard as Howie, are superb as the couple tethering on the edge of the rabbit hole, sometimes dangerously close to the edge, yet never falling down it... the shadow of a child killed in a freak road accident always there, still expected to jump from behind a corner but does not, as Aaron tells to a couple interested in buying their house, or his finger marks on door jambs as Becka shouts at Aaron in an argument when she accidentally deleted a video from his iphone (?), the video itself being another trace of the child's short presence in the world, or in the toys still scattered in his room, or in the dog that eventually returns to the house after having been exiled by Becka. Under the unbearable weight of their pain, recriminations inevitably flare up; yet kids follow dogs, dogs chase squirrels, squirrels do not look on both sides of the road when crossing, and, yes, the garden gate was left open, but... 

Whilst both Becka and Howie seek solace and relief from a therapy group, this results short lived, as soon we learn that this group constitutes another hole, and not the promised beacon to guide them away from their loss, another trap engulfing its participants year after year in masturbatory emotional games, in a sharp insightful into suburbia mythology. There is a key scene when a couple who were going on and on how they lost their child too, how God took the child because God needed another angel, forced Becka to brusquely retort: “Why God just didn't make another angel, just like that. God is God after all.” 

This is also a story of a couple exploring their way away from this emotional emptiness, this pit,  Becka and Aaron are that close to fall into one in spite of their apparently calm relationship they sustain after the child's death, yet bitterness to the unfairness of life is always there, just under the surface. Becka befriends Jason (Miles Teller), the unfortunate kid who was behind the steering wheel of that car on that day; whilst Howie attempts to engage in an affair with Gaby (Sandra Oh), a fellow participant of their therapy group, yet he cannot walk beyond her garden path.

Becka's mother, Nat (an admirably nuanced performance by Dianne Wiest) encapsulates the trauma of carrying the sadness and pain of the loss of a child for the rest of their lives, when she says to her the feelings she had when she lost her son (Becka's brother) due to a heroin overdose, when she tells her that pain is at first unbearable, but after a while it becomes like a brick in your pocket, sometimes we forget is in there, until we get the need to take it out and feel it again... until the last days of our lives.

Rabbit Hole is the title of a comic book that Jason is drawing, being the entrance to another world, a parallel universe, where people get lost for never to return, a metaphor for emotional pits with no exit, leading to the disintegration of relationships, perhaps to those same relationships being renewed, like moving on onto another world.

If you missed Rabbit Hole when it was exhibited in the cinemas, get or rent the DVD/Blu-ray disc, which is due to go on sale in Britain on the 20th of June, 2011.

Nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award, RABBIT HOLE is a searingly powerful emotional tour de force, featuring a career-defining performance by Nicole Kidman.

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