Long ago I was given a piece of advice. It is not to try and verbally console someone whose shoes I have not walked in. It is some of the best advice I have been given. When I am around someone who has lost a parent or a sibling, I merely offer my assistance in any way possible and provide a shoulder to lean on. Having never lost that specific member of the family, it is virtually impossible to relate. I may have had similar experiences when my grandparents passed away, but certainly not the same. In all of my walks of life, I have not crossed paths or experienced anyone who has lost a child. To have a young child, who has already filled a house with joy for years, taken is the ultimate nightmare for parents. It is a heartache that I will hopefully never have to face, and would certainly be at a loss of words for anyone who does have to deal with that tragedy. On the flip side, there are films released that may not 'speak' to the general public. A movie that centers on how a couple deals with the loss of a child may not be the biggest box office draw, but "Rabbit Hole" proves that all stories are worth telling.
"Rabbit Hole" braves the world of a family that is broken. Eight months after their son ran into the street and was accidentally killed by a driver; Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) are still putting the pieces of their lives back together. Proving that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, these two continue to grieve in their own way. Neither support groups nor maintaining busy lives can quell the pain. The couple is seems to be on separate paths travelling to the same goal. The question is: Can their marriage handle it?
I commend films like "Rabbit Hole" or "In The Bedroom" which tackle such sensitive subjects. For some, it is comforting to know that these things do happen. It is not that people wish harm on others, but it is rare to find such candid information on the subject. Much as Becca and Howie's neighbors and friends walk on eggshells around the still grieving parents, movies about this type of loss are few and far between. John Cameron Mitchell, who may be best known for "Hedwig And The Angry Inch," allows "Rabbit Hole" to unfold without dwelling on what happened, rather what is happening. Becca, portrayed brilliantly by Nicole Kidman, doesn't want the fluff about God and how He had a plan that the world cannot understand. It may be a generalized way that many people deal with grief, but Becca wants something more substantial. She chooses to face the problem head-on while continuing to shine a fake plastic smile for her loving mother (Dianne Weist) and head strong sister (Tammy Blanchard). On the flip side, Howie is going through the motions in the hope that 'the system' will work for him. He seems committed to group sessions and really tries to force progress with his wife in an attempt to put the past behind them and move on in the best way possible. These two, who may/may not have been affectionate before the loss of Arthur, are in the middle of a cold marriage with little physical connection. Though the subject may be a bit taboo, Mitchell should be commended for piecing together an emotional drama that supplies top tier acting by all involved.
Lionsgate has always been a favorite of mine not only for their great catalogue of titles, but for their consistency with delivering outstanding home releases. This DVD sports an anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 widescreen presentation with a wealth of earthy, natural colors. The images are very crisp for DVD resolution and fleshtones are spot on. Being shot digitally, "Rabbit Hole" has made a solid transition with virtually no grain or blemishes.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is equally impressive. As with most dramas, most of the sound takes place in the front field with great dialogue levels and a well-balanced score. Some environmental sounds trickle to the rear speakers, but they are rarely used. This is a case where a film doesn't need to use the entire soundfield to succeed.
After watching such an intense film, it is interesting to hear what members of the crew have to say about their work. The feature length commentary track allows viewers to sit down with Director John Cameron Mitchell, Writer David Lindsay-Abaire and Director of Photography Frank de Marco. The trio of men are obviously aware that an upbeat, joke filled commentary would be off-putting, so they keep things subdued while delivering a great deal of information about themselves and the film. There are some Deleted Scenes (3:07) that are more alternate takes from the final product and the film's Theatrical Trailer also included on the disc.
Primarily for fans of intense dramas, "Rabbit Hole" is a class act all around. The beautifully shot film couples great direction by John Cameron Mitchell with outstanding acting by Academy Award nominee Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and a wonderful supporting cast. Though it may not be a prime candidate for repeat viewings, "Rabbit Hole" earns one of my highest recommendations.