A Rabbit Hole, Indeed.

by Meredith O'Brien


Part of me wants to see the critically acclaimed film Rabbit Hole, but I won’t.


As a general rule, if I can avoid it, I don’t like to watch movies where the death of a young child is the central theme. I already marinate in ample quantities of 24/7 worry about my own children so I don’t feel the need to ratchet up my maternal anxiety by putting myself into the mind of a parent who has lost a child or has watched that child succumb to illness. Call me selfish or chicken if you want, but I almost always decline to envision what it’s like to walk in the shoes of an eternally-in-mourning mother who must attempt to soldier on, wake up every morning and continue to live her life while her child is no longer alive, knowing that there’s a hole inside of her which she’ll never be able to fill. I will read first-person articles or accounts of parents’ experiences, but when it comes to movies, with all their heartstring-tugging music that often accompanies this kind of material, I’ll take a pass, thank you very much.


The reviews for the Nicole Kidman/Aaron Eckhart/Dianne Wiest film Rabbit Hole -- about a married couple trying to figure out how to go on eight months after their 4-year-old son was killed in a car accident – say wonderful things about the acting, in particular for Kidman who has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as the grieving mother. “Does it ever go away?” Kidman’s Becca Corbett asked her own mother in the movie trailer about the omnipresent pain that has assumed residency inside her chest. But no matter how many plaudits reviewers bestow upon the cast, I have zero desire to watch a fictionalized meditation of how a pair of suburban parents attempts to survive what many consider to be the ultimate parental nightmare.


In fact, I’ve declined to see many dead/in peril kid-centric movies, like 2009’s Lovely Bones (a 14-year-old girl was brutally killed and then watched her bereaved family try to figure out who killed her) and 2007’s Gone Baby Gone (a 4-year-old girl was kidnapped). I remember when the CBS show Without a Trace premiered in 2002 and I said to my husband, “Why in the world would ANYONE want to watch a show about people -- about kids – disappearing every week?”