“Things aren’t nice any more”
London has yet to see the theatrical premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole as the Joanne Froggatt-starring production mooted for the Vaudeville late last year was postponed due to scheduling issues and with no further news about it forthcoming. Which is possibly a good thing for me as on watching the film version, the ugly crying it reduced me to once again is not something I’d want to replicate in a theatre!
Rabbit Hole is a simple but stunning look at the way that families deal with loss, specifically the loss of a child, and what if anything can be done to help acknowledge and move on from such a tragedy. Danny and Becca’s 4 year old Danny died in a car accident outside their house 8 months ago and it has shattered them. Caught in their own worlds of grief, their friends and family look on helplessly as they drift apart, unaware or unwilling to accept the help on offer.
Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart are both exceptionally good as the grieving couple, struggling to communicate even the simplest things to each other and finding succour elsewhere. Eckhart’s Danny continues at the support group Becca can’t abide and draws dangerously close to Sandra Oh’s beautifully judged fellow group member. And Kidman’s brittle Becca finds herself drawn to the young man (Miles Teller) whose car hit her son, working his own way through the guilt and sadness.
It is largely quite a restrained film but this just means when the explosions of anger and grief come, they are all the more devastatingly powerful and moving. Lindsay-Abaire tempers the grief though with the exploration of life’s little details, the life that has to be kept on living, and Mitchell captures these beautifully. The pot-influenced giggles in therapy, the amused connection between mother and daughter over a scandalous reveal from the past, the bickering sisters, there’s a gorgeous naturalism to the film which keeps it feeling remarkably fresh and somehow positive throughout – highly recommended.