I had to do a film review recently for screenwriting class, and this one made me think a bit about doing things ‘too well’. I’d like to share with you…
Rabbit Hole is the story of two parents, Becca (played by Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) who have tragically lost their 4-year old son when he was hit by a car outside their home. The film deals with the very different ways that they deal with their grief and focuses on the relationship Becca develops with the teenage boy who was driving the car that killed her son.
These are demanding roles, and the actors do not put a foot wrong. The visual and sound designs are impeccable and the writing is without a glitch. Although the tone of the film is somber and slow-paced, it is directed with such sensitivity and precision that I was entirely engaged from opening to closing credits.
But was I touched by it? Not in the slightest. For a story line that would normally have me wrenched with sobs in the first 5 minutes, this film left me cold until the end. Even the climax couldn’t solicit a single tear – and I have young kids; I’m an easy target.
So what is wrong with it? Exactly that. Nothing. It is too perfect. This movie has been described by a number of reviewers as flawless and it was. But it made me realise that it is not the absence of flaws that make moving art. To the contrary it’s the presence of them; vibrant, human, masterfully used, rubbing and bruising up against one another to conjure the awkward, living, imperfect thing that is a human story.
Much as I am fond of my ex-compatriot, Nicole Kidman is the living embodiment of cold perfection. There was no doorway I could find through that fascinating, alien beauty to connect to her character. Instead of sharing in her raw grief, I found myself marveling at her skin tone. I liked her better when she had that awful corkscrew hair and no lips.
The best thing about this film was Miles Teller who played the teenage boy who was driving the car. He looks a bit weird, his acting style was a bit weird and he was the rainbow in the otherwise grey sky of flawlessness.