Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2010. Olympus Pictures, Blossom Films, MWM. Screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire, based on his play. Cinematography by Frank G. DeMarco. Produced by Nicole Kidman, Gigi Pritzker,Per Saari, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech. Music by Anton Sanko. Production Design by Kalina Ivanov. Costume Design by Ann Roth. Film Editing by Joe Klotz. Academy Awards 2010. Golden Globe Awards 2010. Independent Spirit Awards 2010. Toronto International Film Festival 2010. Washington Film Critics Awards 2010.
This delicately beautiful film begins with married couple Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart bereaved by a personal loss and seeking comfort in group therapy. Their tragedy, it turns out, is the death of their son, and their diverging ways of dealing with his absence is threatening to tear them apart. Eckhart feels that talking about their boy is important, that keeping his possessions and clothing is paramount to healing. Kidman, on the other hand, is looking to move on with her life and not surround herself with constant reminders of not only her sorrow but also her guilt. John Cameron Mitchell does a marvelous job of adapting David Lindsay-Abaire’s play to the big screen without sacrificing any level of theatrical intensity. The scenes that examine the main couple when they are alone together have all the electricity of a wonderful night at the theatre; the rest of their interactions, with Tammy Blanchard as Kidman’s sister, Sandra Oh as a fellow member of their group, Miles Teller as someone who shares Kidman’s guilt, and most impressively Dianne Wiest, very touching as Kidman’s mother, never feel stagy or contrived. Kidman is outstanding in her subtlety, unleashing a tidal wave of grief and frustration without ever overplaying a single scene, while Eckhart matches her with his impressive ferocity.