AWFJ Woman On Film – “Rabbit Hole” – Review by Susan Granger”

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When four year-old Danny Corbett is accidentally killed by a motorist after darting into a suburban street while chasing the family dog, his parents’ lives are shattered.

Adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this is the story of their painful recovery from the torment of that random tragedy.

Barely repressing her simmering anger, Becca (Nicole Kidman) copes by gardening and baking pies in disciplined domesticity, while bereaved Howie (Aaron Eckhart) stubbornly clings to every trace of Danny’s life (drawings, photos, videos) and relieves stress by strenuous games of squash. It’s been eight months since they lost their son, and grief therapy sessions have become more habitual than helpful. There are still so many unanswered questions: Should they clean out Danny’s room and discard his toys? Should they sell the house and move somewhere else, far away from the pity in their neighbors’ eyes?

Becca’s well-meaning mother Nat (Dianne Wiest) increases resentment by continually recalling the death of Becca’s drug-addicted 30 year-old brother, a comparison that understandably infuriates Becca, who secretly begins to stalk Jason (Miles Teller), the local teenager who was driving the car, while Howie envisions seeking solace with Gabby (Sandra Oh), a lonely woman whom he met in group counseling.

In this restrained yet haunting, performance-driven drama, Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckart embody various forms of anguish while striving to continue their charade of normalcy by “moving on.” Adapted and directed by John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Itch”), it’s the first release from Blossom Films, Ms. Kidman’s production company and, as a low-budget independent film, cost only $4 million to make. The relevant title is derived from both Alice’s descent into Wonderland in classic literature and a kind of compassionate, curative comic book that’s created by Jason, showing how a

shattered family is lovingly reunited in one of an infinite number of parallel universes.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Rabbit Hole” is a sensitive, superbly acted 8, a subtly disturbing chronicle of suffering and despair for those seeking a vicarious kind of catharsis.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.