Brace yourself

Things aren’t nice, anymore. This is definitely a line that still runs through my mind a week after I saw Rabbit Hole. So, it’s barely 2011 and this is my favorite film this year. I imagine as the next 12 months go by, it will still be a contender. As depressing as this story is, the realism the writer, director and cast achieved was the tops for me. Married couple Howie and Becca lose their young son after he is hit by a car in front of their house. The characters are dealing with tragedy and grief and suffer a rift in their relationship. However, the rift doesn’t take away their love or trust and I appreciate in this story that they didn’t betray each other as punishment for losing their son. The rift is caused because Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) choose other means of support to cope with their son’s death. Becca chooses to pack up their son’s belongings without discussing the decision with Howie. He decides it’s time to sell the house or bring back the dog their son loved so much. Becca gave the dog to her mother, Nat (Dianne Wiest) as another way to attempt to remove the grief from their home. But, it’s not possible. This story hits the viewer with the fact that bad things happen and people just have to find ways to live with them. Grief doesn’t go away, so how can Becca and Howie live with it?

Things were nice for Becca and Howie before, and now they’re not.
Visually, since Rabbit Hole is based on a play, I noticed that the screen version resembles the intimacy of seeing something on stage. It is especially evident in scenes just between two people, Becca and Howie, Becca and her mom, or the boy who hit Danny with his car. Becca actually bonds with the teenager, who is dealing with his own grief for accidentally killing Danny.
The realism of Rabbit Hole also allows the viewer to place themselves right into the plot. Would I have the same experience as Becca and Howie if I were in their shoes? Yes. Could I see myself relating to a person who killed my son? Yes. Maybe not in my own real life with people I actually know, but this story is told in such a believable way, I get it and I’m there.
We’re all human. Better to live showing your real feelings than pretending to be happy.
Again, it’s a completely depressing, but eye-opening film. The characters of Becca and Howie don’t end up happy, but they’re at peace. The same is true for me as a viewer. I’m at peace with this portrayal of a sad, sad story. It’s not something any moviegoer could possibly be in the mood for, but if you’re going to go there, watch Rabbit Hole.

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