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Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week: Nicole Kidman in 'Rabbit Hole'

January 12, 2011 |  4:58 pm

Nicole Kidman never makes the easy choice. If there are cliffs to dive from, she’ll pick the highest; cuts to cut, she’ll slice the deepest.

As an actress, she is not interested in giving comfort to either us or her women -- consider "The Hours," "Margot at the Wedding," "Portrait of a Lady" or "Dogville," to name just a very few.

When it comes to holes to burrow into? For that, there is the exquisitely rendered pain of "Rabbit Hole," in which she plays a mother dealing with the tragedy of her young son's death. It's accidental; no one's fault, really. But without blame, how do you heal? That is the central dilemma with which her Becca is dealing.

Loss is such a strange blend of individual and universal pain, and Kidman blurs that line beautifully as a hollowed-out shell of a human, not sure if she wants to locate a pulse ever again. She is one half of a broken couple, opposite an excellent Aaron Eckhart, in playwright David Lindsay-Abaire's quietly hopeful adaptation of his searing play in the cautious hands of director John Cameron Mitchell.

The film is not perfect, but Kidman’s Becca is so finely crafted that she is sure to stand alongside the many extraordinary faces of Eve the actress has given us.

-- Betsy Sharkey

Photo: Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole."

Credit: JoJo Whilden