I hope I never have to experience what the couple of Rabbit Hole experience, the loss of a child. Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) struggle with the death of their four year old son. The film is set about eight months after the accident that takes their son’s life. Not a happy time.
Rabbit Hole is all about watching a couple deal with the loss of their young child and the different ways they go about coping with life. It would appear that Howie is doing better than Becca. Early on we see them go to a grief support group and watch Becca explode in anger as she hears another couple tearfully express comfort in knowing their child is with God. In that scene we get a clear picture that Becca is not receptive to spiritual consoling and Howie is at a loss for what to do. He’s in a different place than Becca, trying hard to move forward while never forgetting the love for his child. Throughout the film we see this tension between Becca and Howie played out in some emotionally tense scenes. The acting is superb, which is critical when your story hinges on character development with only a loose plot to carry things forward.
When dealing with such an emotional subject it’s hard to fault any character for their behavior. Yet Rabbit Hole made it hard throughout the film to empathize with Becca. I felt as though I was supposed to empathize with the couple as a whole, but as time passed it got harder to pull for Becca. Her behavior was erratic and only seemed to get worse as time went on, which seemed to be a key driver for Howie’s poor choices in the second half of the film. By the end, I was finding it hard to like either character because both seemed to dive deeper into self absorption with little hope for redemption. And maybe that’s OK. It’s all about a couple reeling from the hole the death of their son has left in their lives. That makes for an emotionally grueling movie with excellent acting yet little to truly enjoy in the end.