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Rabbit Hole a surprisingly moving and honest portrayal of family grief (4 stars)

New feature from director of Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch

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Rabbit Hole

(12A) 90min

On the surface, Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch director John Cameron Mitchell’s third feature Rabbit Hole has all the hallmarks of a forgettable television movie grappling with a familiar storyline: a young middle-class couple grieving the loss of their son. Yet, through excellent writing and memorable performances, the film emerges as a surprisingly moving and honest portrayal of a family in grief.

Rabbit Hole begins with images of what appear to be suburban bliss: Becca Corbett (Nicole Kidman) lovingly tends to the garden outside her beautiful home before preparing dinner for husband Howie (Aaron Eckhart). However, in the scenes that follow, as they meet and chat with family and friends, it soon emerges that this is a couple struggling to hold things together.

David Lindsay-Abaire’s screenplay, adapted from his play, is the film’s real strength. Thoughtful characterisation and engaging dialogue give Rabbit Hole believable characters whose actions are understandable. Refreshingly too, the emotional response that Rabbit Hole engenders comes through honesty and tenderness rather than melodrama. In particular in the scenes between Kidman and the young Miles Teller which subtly capture a mix of sorrow, regret and hope for the future.

Selected release from Fri 4 Feb.

Rabbit Hole

  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 12A
  • Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell
  • Cast: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller, Tammy Blanchard, Sandra Oh

Shortbus director Mitchell's third feature avoids the pitfalls of TV melodrama through excellent writing and memorable performances. Kidman and Eckhart play a couple grieving for their young son and struggling to hold things together. Thoughtful characterisation and engaging dialogue help Rabbit Hole succeed where so many…

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