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'Rabbit Hole,' starring Nicole Kidman

Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole Credit: JoJo Whilden

It's often said that we are born alone, and die alone, but the idea that we also mourn alone is made moving and convincing in John Cameron Mitchell's "Rabbit Hole," a film of rather startling complexity and emotional truth. Starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, this adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer-winning play is anything but an immersion in the bleak and tragic. Its two principal characters so valiantly resist the cosmic truths that fate has forced upon them that they are near-comic, nobly absurd and enormously touching.

Based on the playwright's screenplay, "Rabbit Hole" doesn't give us the catastrophe at story's center, just its aftermath. There's definitely something amiss with Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) so intent on establishing domestic normality that their entire universe screams dysfunction.

As we learn through Lindsay-Abaire's seductive manner of doling out information, Becca and Howie are eight months into their grief over their 4-year-old son, who was hit by a car. The idea of mixing grief with time, as if loss had a expiration date, is one of Lindsay-Abaire's more trenchant gestures.

Ultimately, Becca and Howie seek their individual courses of action. He, via a perilous friendship with a fellow grief-support group member (Sandra Oh); she, through an alarming, but wrenching, friendship with the young man (Miles Teller) who ran down her son.

Kidman does some of her best work ever. But Eckhart certainly does his part in creating a couple poised at the edge of a slow-motion disaster whose best intentions simply aren't enough to get them past the pain.


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