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DVD Pick: 'Rabbit Hole'

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DVD Pick: 'Rabbit Hole'
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Nicole Kidman Gives a Fine Performance in a Somber Drama

Nicole Kidman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Rabbit Hole (2010), which was adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire's play that won the Pulitzer Prize. In addition to Kidman, the film has an outstanding cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh.

The movie is set in the New York City area in an unspecified place with an upscale suburban feel. The main characters are a married couple, Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart), grieving over the recent death of their four-year-old son. Becca and Howie have different ways of coping with the tragedy that has befallen them, and their marriage is thrown into crisis. The story is about their struggle to try to get back to some kind of normalcy.

They go to a support group for grieving parents, where Howie befriends one of the women (Sandra Oh). Becca spends some time with her mother (Dianne Wiest), but they get into arguments. Also, Becca becomes jealous of the relationship her sister (Tammy Blanchard) has with a musician (Giancarlo Esposito).

While Rabbit Hole is not a feel-good film, it manages to avoid punishing the viewer. It is emotionally engaging, but maintains a very restrained tone and is not unrelentingly downbeat. It even contains a little humor and offers a bit of comfort with the notion that there may be parallel universes.

Rabbit Hole was directed by John Cameron Mitchell, whose previous films — Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch — were markedly different from this one.

Special Features

The main extra is a worthwhile audio commentary by director John Cameron Mitchell, screenwriter (and playwright) David Lindsay-Abaire and cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco. They point out differences between the stage and screen versions, as well as discuss shots and camera techniques. Most listeners will probably be a little surprised to learn that the movie was 80 percent shot in Queens since not many people know about the tony Douglaston community that's contained within the borough. But noise from LaGuardia air traffic caused the filmmakers big problems since Mitchell feels that having to loop dialogue in intense dramatic scenes tends to artistically degrade the final result. Mitchell talks about the film's music, and he gets a chuckle by claiming that listening to an Al Green song once caused him to get amorous with a girl. (Mitchell is openly gay.)

The only other bonus material consists of three deleted scenes, which have a total runtime of less than three minutes. These wouldn't have pulled their weight in the finished film, but one is reasonably interesting: "Izzy confronts Debbie in supermarket" shows Becca's sister being very unpleasant to Becca's friend, and we conclude that no one would be likely to characterize any of the women in Becca's family as sweet-natured.

Release Date: April 19, 2011
Total Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Mature Thematic Material, Some Drug Use and Language

Disclosure: A review copy of the DVD was provided by Lionsgate. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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