This new expeditious family drama makes the awful crisis of coping with a loss something touching and even wryly observed.
Rabbit Hole stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Diane West, and Sandra Oh, and is adapted deftly by David Lindsay-Abaire from his acclaimed play. One that which earned its lead Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City 2) a Tony award.
So, having the presence of Hedwig and the Angry Inch director John Cameron Mitchell on board helps to make an unusual complex journey more vivid from all the swirling emotions on a troubled return to normalcy.
The main protagonist is Becca Corbett (Kidman, in excellent form), as she and husband Howie (Eckhart) are in a very dark place after the sudden demise of their teenager son. Mitchell does a good job establishing the changing milieu of a couple who are rather dissimilar but really love one another.
Just less than a year ago, this ideal suburban clan appeared to have everything going for it. Now all the loathing, guilt, yearning, quarreling and cynicism have consumed them as Rabbit Hole impressively details disparate ways of going through the grieving process with, arguably, unanticipated turns.
Kidman has some quality candid scenes with her caring, if adamant mother (Wiest) who can empathize with Becca, having a loved one devoured by drugs. The initially hesitant, if later audacious wife and mother finds solace through her closeness with the fellow student, a vulnerably bright Miles Teller involved in the death of her son.
Happiness and order may still be within reach for Becca and Howie as the latter finds comfort from the company of another, now single woman (Oh) from a support group. Mitchell does well to inject levity in some of the gloomier interludes as shaken survivors engage a tilting disconnect with comfort and pain that sometimes calls to mind a more poignant drama like In The Bedroom. Or, for some, what shares a similar domestic strife with recent films like Reservation Road and Revolutionary Road.
Still, the essence of this familiar scenario takes into account resiliency with a welcome sardonic edge that seems to bring out the best in Kidman (her best work in nearly a decade) and Wiest, finally getting a supporting role worthy of someone who has done her previous best silver-screen work for Woody Allen.
An able, choosy Mitchell never lets the proceedings fall into staged familiar territory, working with a crew that lushly renders within all the culpability, contention and humor a family just off the track of a new hope.