We Need To Talk About Kevin is a film by writer/director Lynne Ramsay. The film boasts an impressive cast that includes Academy Award Winning actress Tilda Swinton and actor John C. Reilly Kevin’s parents. Kevin as an adult is played by newcomer Ezra Miller and the childhood versions of Kevin are played by Jasper Newell and Rock Duer.
We Need To Talk About Kevin is the story of a mother named Eva (Tilda Swinton) who never wished for motherhood and the shocking effect that those emotions have on her son Kevin (Ezra Miller). Kevin comes out of his mother’s womb hating his mother and crying all of the time long after he is brought home from the hospital. As Kevin ages he finds ways to upset his mother. One example that comes to mind is a scene where toddler Kevin (Jasper Newell) poops in his diaper which his mother changes cheerfully and then Kevin urinates in the fresh diaper just to upset his mother. Kevin is an entirely different and happy child around his father Franklin (John C. Reilly). Eva often attempts to communicate to Franklin that Kevin feels and acts out hatred towards her. The attempts fall on deaf ears though as Franklin cannot see anything negative about his perfect son. Kevin’s resentment of his mother and affinity for acts of mild cruelty leads to an unsettling event that causes Eva to basically become both numb and dead inside.
We Need To Talk About Kevin is one of the most intense films I’ve seen in 2012. I found Kevin’s level of cruelty towards his mother unsettling and disturbing. Tilda Swinton portrays Eva as someone who does the best she can to be a tolerant and supportive mother to her child while facing opposition at every turn from the person she is supposed to love and protect. Most of the film sees Swinton wear a weathered deaden expression on her face due to the level of stress parenting Kevin has brought upon her. This film is Tilda Swinton’s most powerful and restrained performance yet. Ezra Miller and the two child actors who play younger versions of Kevin do very solid work as antagonists to Swinton’s supportive and understanding Eva. The only negative performance in this film comes from John C. Reilly. I found his performance to be ordinary and boring.
Lynne Ramsay loves using the color red in this film. Red symbolizes a number of things in this movie but I cannot explain why. This film is best watched at The Art Theater. When I went to the screening the entire theater was dead silent. I love when movies cause complete silence in an audience. I loved the flashbacks in the film because not only so they inform the viewer of Eva’s variously depressed and happy emotional states.
This film is not for the faint of heart. There are minor intense scenes of violence and strong language. We Need To Talk About Kevin will be stirring in your brain long after the credits roll. This film is a disturbing portrait of motherhood that can move the most cynical people with its premise and its engaging performances.