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Vol. LXV, No. 2
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

(Photo by David Geisbrecht)
THEY SEE DANNY EVERYWHERE: As they are leaving the diner, Becca Corbett (Nicole Kidman, left) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) are apparently painfully reminded of their dead four-year-old son when they see a child about the same age as their late son sitting in a booth with his family.

Rabbit Hole: Kidman, Eckhart Star in Adaptation of Prize Winning Play

Kam Williams

How long does it take to get over the death of a child? Perhaps forever, suggests Rabbit Hole, a poignant portrayal of mourning based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name.

Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), the film describes the deteriorating relationship between grief stricken parents who are struggling to find meaning in their lives after the loss of their four-year-old son. They both blame themselves for Danny’s untimely death when he was hit and killed by a car after he chased his dog into the street.

The movie opens eight months after the accident and we find once happily married Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie Corbett (Aaron Eckhart) inconsolable and emotionally estranged by their loss. The Corbetts’ emotional problems arise from their diametrically opposed grieving mechanisms. Becca wants to eradicate any painful trace of Danny’s existence, whereas Howie derives solace in seeing bittersweet physical reminders of Danny’s life.

As such, Howie is bothered when Becca removes Danny’s photos from the refrigerator, donates his clothes to charity, and wants to sell their house and move away. On the other hand, Howie would like to have another baby, but Becca has no interest in physical intimacy.

Because of their differences in coping with their loss, the bereavement support group they joined drives another wedge between them. As an atheist, Becca can’t stand the organization’s references to religion as a source of comfort. Embittered, she believes that, if there is a God, then he must be “sadistic.”

So, she stops attending the sessions, oblivious to the fact that Howie has developed an interest in the married member of the group, (Sandra Oh) whose shoulder he’s been leaning on. Meanwhile, Becca has formed an unlikely friendship with the teen driver (Miles Teller) of the car that killed Danny.

As strange as the above scenarios sound, Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and the talented supporting cast deliver their material in a sensitive subdued fashion. Though relentlessly grim, and given to the undeniably bizarre, the movie does convincingly convey a real sense of how a solid marriage might be ripped asunder by an unthinkable tragedy.

Excellent (3½ stars). Rated PG-13 for profanity, drug use, and mature themes. Running time: 92 Minutes. Studio: Lionsgate Films.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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