Far from the light fare of Alice in Wonderland (from which the title is derived), Rabbit Hole is a sobering and wrenching story about how parents respond to the accidental death of their four year old son.  Based upon the play by the same title (which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2006), the story focuses on what brings people comfort in the face of tragedy and allows them to move on.

The film is compelling in every aspect.  The acting is superb (Kidman was nominated for Best Actress).  The story is realistic, but not sentimental.  There is a hopeful quality to the pacing.  The musical score and cinematography are a perfect match for the story.  Yet, the denouement hinges on a main character finding comfort in, believe it or not, a scientific theory known as Parallel Universes or Multiverse.

This scientific theory may be true, but there is not and may never be a way to demonstrate it to be true.  In the movie, of course, it is “just science” and is clearly set against the implied nonscientific concepts within Christianity.*  Richard Dawkins and many atheistic scientists strongly advocate the possibility of a Multiverse.  It is attractive to them because it replaces the need for a Divine Designer.  Indeed, Dawkins has advocated the Multiverse many times in the debates we have sponsored (see here).  What is the Multiverse?  In short, it is the belief that there is not just one universe, but a nearly infinite array of universes (ours being just one).  In the movie, this is extrapolated to mean that all the lives we could possibly live are in fact being lived out.  Somewhere, there is a universe in which we are not suffering.

How does this become a persuasive concept in a movie like Rabbit Hole?  You will have to see it for yourself, but it works.  That is, it works well at that part of the story.  And one of the reasons it works is because it is juxtaposed with a caricature of how Christianity fails to be a comfort in the face of a tragedy.  It is an example of how a well-told story can fertilize an otherwise lifeless message.

Why doesn’t the Multiverse offer true comfort?  Is the portrayal of how Christians seek comfort unfair?  How in fact does Christianity comfort people in similar circumstances?  These are all questions worth pondering at movie’s end.