How do you move on after the death of a child? There is no time frame rule for grieving. Nor does everyone grieve in the same way. Eight months after the death of their young son, Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) continue to cope with their grief -- but in different ways. Whereas Howie finds solace in re-watching a final video of the boy over and over, Becca needs to strip the house of most reminders. Both find comfort in private platonic relationships -- Becca becomes close with the teenage driver (newcomer Miles Teller) who accidentally hit the boy, while Howie buddies up with a fellow bereavement support group member (Sideways' Sandra Oh). Can Becca and Howie's marriage survive with so much grief and secrecy?
There's nothing particularly groundbreaking in the story-telling here. Sure, it's heartbreaking -- but the movie stands out due to riveting performances by Kidman (Oscar-winner for The Hours) and Eckhart (The Dark Knight). And Oscar-winner Diane Wiest (Hannah and Her Sisters, Bullets Over Broadway) is terrific as Becca's mom -- mourning not only her grandson, but also her own son she lost several years back. Teller, Oh and The Good Shepherd's Tammy Blanchard (who plays Becca's sister) round-out a strong supporting cast.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and written by David Lindsay-Abaire -- an adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. If you can sit through the tough subject matter, the film is worth seeing for some astonishing performances. [Rated PG-13; opens in NY and LA today; wider on Christmas Day; nationwide on January 14]
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