What I mean are movies that explore a core aspect of life by telling a story with minimal glitz or glam. Movies that are hyper-focused, some may say slow-moving or even common. Movies that capture nuance to uncover the quiet pain and beautiful strength of what it means to be human.
Revolutionary Road. Rachel Getting Married. Cedar Rapids. The Hours. Doubt. A Serious Man. The Wrestler.
Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman in an Oscar nominated role, is another such film to add to this list of my favorites.
This is a poignant story of one family’s journey through the aftermath of losing their four-year-old son, Danny. While one or two secondary themes in the film are a bit underdeveloped, overall this is a story that goes far beyond mere words or dialogue to depict the painful wounds, fears, and complexities of grieving.
The film leaves you with the uncomfortable reality that even as you don’t want to, even as it feels unfathomably wrong and undesirable, moving through loss is about doing the next thing. From smoking pot to writing a comic book to selling your house, each character has his/her own unique, sometimes bizarre, often confusing next things.
And the lesson of the “then what?” You can’t be sure of where you’ll end up until you take the first step. And then the next one. And the next one. And the next one. And somewhere, somehow, if you’re willing to look for it and brave enough to trust it, you’ll see hope.
It’s a broken and fragile hope, but as the film’s final image powerfully portrays, it’s a hope you are undeniably drawn into and believe in because it’s real – the raw and beautiful and terrifying kind of real.