Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nicole Kidman, in Rabbit Hole
approximately 57 minutes and 02 seconds
67.1% of the film

The film

Life for a happy couple is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident.
You can read my short review of the film just by clicking HERE.

As you’ll see, I’ve been swimming against the waves with this film, but I will say some really nice things about Rabbit Hole: I think the cinematography is really special, I think the screenplay is quite ok and, considering it was a year with better directors than the films themselves, John Cameron Mitchell’s direction is quite distinctive.

Nicole Kidman as Becca

It’s the first Nicole Kidman performance I get to write about and it seems so strange to do so. Can you believe it’s just her 3rd nomination? When I think of Nicole, I think of Dogville and how underrated that film is and her performance in it. This time she’s also a producer and you can tell the film is a work of love and I’m happy she got nominated for a film that feels so meaningful to her and to others.

Nicole plays Becca, an intelligent, outspoken woman, who is trying to take control of her life again, months after the death of her young son. The film analyzes her relationship with her husband, with the people around her and her final steps in coming to terms with her loss. It’s not a glamorous role, nor a very complicated one. I perceived it as being quite simple on an emotional level and there is a certain honesty to the character’s emotions, with most of her feeling being on display.

There is nothing groundbreaking about Nicole playing a character trapped in uncomfortable situations, and there are a lot of those moments especially in the first part of the film. Becca doesn’t always fit in and her no-bullshit way of being often keeps her on the outside of stuff. She has her own way of dealing with her grief, or so we suspect, and she finds that the best therapy for her are the occasional conversations with the actual teenager who accidentally killed her child.

Because she’s good at playing more independent, cold characters, Nicole does great on more that one emotional aspect of Becca. Her no-excuses attitude towards her husband and her mother is believable and is acted well, but we sense that the real Becca shows up in her meaningful park conversations with the teenager. Those also happen to be the best scenes of the film: well thought, quiet scenes acted with lots of talent.

Nicole’s best acting doesn’t come from the couple’s big shouting scenes, but from her more private, quiet moments. The special relationship she forms with that boy might’ve looked strange on screen, but the chemistry of the actors and the unrushed pace really make them work, and it’s there that Nicole delivers her best acting in years.

You need to see it to understand it; Nicole really shows a different side of Becca, a more sympathetic, likeable, relatable aspect of the character. His simple, honest apologies, her instinctive curiosity to know more about him, and the kind of healing satisfaction of being in his presence – we understand all this, we believe the arc of the character just because of the gentleness, the quiet emotion, the heart of the character, the tears that Nicole allows us to see.

It’s a good, mature performance, with nothing I would hold against it. I didn’t always go crazy for it, but there are definitely scenes (the crying in the car, their final talk in the park, and others) in which you can sense how good Nicole is in this role. It’s a fine performance with moments of greatness, and from me.


dinasztie said...

I really agree. I can't wait for your thoughts about Natalie.

mayukhers112 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malcolm said...

She's the only BAs nominee that I haven't seen yet and I'm definitely excited!

This year looks pretty strong. :)

Dan O. said...

Kidman is great in this role, and perfectly brings out the raw emotion within Becca. Good post!

Robert said...

Great post! You reminded me how much I love this performance. So good to see Nicole doing stuff like this again.

Allen said...

I thought she was so good! She made me feel so much even even while she is physically doing little onscreen. That big fight scene with Aaron Eckhart almost made me cry, which is saying quite a bit because I have a black hole for a heart. Excellent performance.

TomS said...

I couldn't agree more...and the comments above said it all so well. I loved this film and Kidman is wonderful.

Alex in Movieland said...

I knew she'll have lots of support, you guys even liked her more than I did. :D

i'm happy for nicole, I just wish her film would've also made more box office money, so that she could also feel more satisfied as a producer :)