Commentary - Rabbit Hole

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why would someone with a 2 1/2 year-old want to make a film about losing a young child in an unforeseeable fatal accident?

I just saw an interview with Nicole Kidman where she muses, as a left-handed person, at times her approach to the world can be uncommon, not only literally, but intellectually and creatively. She likes to delve into her worst fears and make herself do things that make her uncomfortable. As a fellow lefty, I think I can relate, it's why I'm blogging and Christmas shopping and getting my eyebrows professionally waxed when I should be in a fit of despair and panic that no visible means of support has presented itself thus far. Is this my left-handed brain unintentionally taking me to an insecure place for me to live out my worst fears?

And is David Lindsay-Abaire, the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of Rabbit Hole (click for trailer) a lefty too? Does that explain his desire to delve into such an unbearable nightmare type of scenario, while being the father of a 4 year-old?

Kidman and her producing partner, Per Saari, optioned the rights to this story in 2006 and hired Lindsay-Abaire, to write the screenplay adaptation. Four years later, Director John Cameron Mitchell (who I confuse with Cameron Crowe, cause that's how my left-hand brain works), Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and an actress that I always wish to see more of, Tammy Blanchard, create a film of note to premiere at The Toronto Film Festival, and is now receiving Oscar buzz.

I started by talking about fear and despair, but Rabbit Hole is really about surviving, living and finding your footing again after the worse has happened. The film starts 8 months after Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) have lost their 4 year-old son Danny. Becca seems fragile, but she's coping, meticulously gardening and cooking. Howie, in the beginning, seems to be more adjusted, coming in from work and affectionately coming up behind Becca in the kitchen.

It's not until we see them at dinner after their support group meeting, that we start to understand these two people have been dealing with their grief very differently - Becca wants to move on, sell the house and leave behind as many of her memories as possible. Howie often likes to watch a video of Danny on his phone and feels comforted by the child's art work on the refrigerator. Understandably, these opposing methods have been wearing away the fabric of their marriage. This, along with Becca's accusation that Howie is "roping" her into having sex, after an 8 month absence of physical intimacy.

Nat (Wiest) is a very simple, working class mother who you get, has never really gotten her eldest daughter; her son died of a heroine overdose, her other daughter, Izzy (Blanchard) is prone to bar fights and has just found out she's pregnant by a Latino musician. Becca is the "white sheep" of the family, educated, worked at Sotheby's until giving birth to Danny, married to a man who clearly is making good money by the looks of the house situated by a lake. Not to mention, Becca doesn't seem to be in any hurry to go back to work. So these family dynamics play a big part in the story.

The other major arcs of the piece come out of the relationships the couple forms away from each other. Howie with an 8 year veteran of the support group, Gaby (Sandra Oh) and Becca with Jason (Miles Teller) a 17 year-old, illustrating a comic book called "The Rabbit Hole".

I enjoyed the film as a whole. It's not filled with histrionics or mellow drama. I was very impressed with the comedic beats, real humor that comes from observing life and relationships. However, I didn't find it as interesting or the acting as stellar as Blue Valentine, which sets a similar tone.

Rabbit Hole hits theaters this Friday, December 17th.

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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