Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Rabbit Hole

A couple, Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart), attempt to cope with the sudden death of their young child. Uh-huh: there have been so many manipulative movies on this subject that simply to hear the plot of Rabbit Hole could induce a case of mourning sickness. But the tone achieved by writer David Lindsay-Abaire (adapting his Pulitzer Prize–winning play) and director John Cameron Mitchell (who did the splendidly rambunctious indie films Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus) is fine and generous, an unbroken series of subtle, privileged moments. Kidman, in a career-best performance, and Eckhart lend pitch-perfect calibration to the couple's shared and separate agonies. It's as if previous treatments of the subject were a series of failed experiments, and Rabbit Hole is the Eureka! moment. This is how movies can bring a great, grave theme to indelible dramatic life.