Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rabbit Hole

I can't stop thinking about Rabbit Hole.

What I love about this film is it's complete adultness. Forget the tragic event that is at the core of the story. It's indisputable that loss of Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart's son is the driving force behind the drama. But, for me, it's not what makes the movie wrenching. What makes it unforgettable is that every turn in every reaction and every argument rings true. I don't want to give away much, but a few moments shine.

Eckhart's reaction to Kidman's messing with his cellphone is remarkably real. He is pissed off at her at a childlike level, and reacts with physical revulsion. She, in turn, is shocked at how he pulls away from her. There are many times in a marriage when one member acts out, or says something, that makes the other wonder who that person really is. It happens to the best of us. Eckhart's display and Kidman's reaction are almost too real, and uncomfortably beautiful to watch. Until Rabbit Hole, my favorite realistic marital argument in cinema was Julianne Moore's pants off fight with Matthew Modine in Robert Altman's Short Cuts.

There's a scene where Eckhart puts on the ipod and tries desperately to reconnect sexually with his wife. The ensuing argument about sex, seduction and Al Green hits every note perfectly. Though it springs from the couple's grief, it has little to do with that tragedy. Every married couple will see themselves in this scene, and almost every scene. The couple are seen as individuals trying in their own ways to cope with the worst thing that can happen to a parent; the death of a child. But Rabbit Hole is about how two separate people come together, and often fall apart, in their efforts to become one. It's a story of how deep love can be and how, even with that love apparent, difficult it can be to stay together.

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