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This film doesn't really do justice to the book, in my opinion, but is an interesting film in its own right. The film stars Tilda Swinton as Eva and Ezra Miller as adolescent Kevin. Based on the book by Lionel Shriver, the story follows the aftermath of a high school massacre which Kevin meticulously planned and executed.
Swinton captures the desolation and pain which Eva carries with her, as well as the guilt, for her perceived part in shaping Kevin into a human being capable of mass murder. Miller plays the last version of Kevin, as a teenager in a juvenile prison living without remorse. His acting is the most interesting in the film, as he captures the feeling of creepiness, distance and hint of a sociopath which characterises the adolescent Kevin from the book.
However, the film has some short falls. It is not as multi-layered as the book and has far less room for interpretation and detail (although, this is often the case with films by nature of the media itself). Regardless though, the emphasis on the catastrophic aftermath of a high school massacre is well-portrayed and makes the film a thought-provoking work.
Having read the book first i was skeptical that the film would live up to my expectations, and I'm sorry to say that i was right. The film didn't have the same captivating atmosphere as the book, and i found it hard to get into the story whereas with the book i was hooked from the first page.
Having said that, i enjoyed the film immensely once i stopped comparing it to the book and starting appreciating it on its own merits. The film follows the life of Eva Katchadourian, a woman struggling to live a normal life after an event that turned her world upside-down, and we watch as Eva deals with the devastating results. The film shows flashbacks of her life before the event with her family, her relationship with her husband her daughter, and most importantly her relationship with her son Kevin.
The film has it's flaws and may not be suited to all tastes, but the tremendous performances, particularly by Tilda Swinton, help to portray this film in a such a way that it stays with you long after the credits roll.
We need to talk about Kevin is a 2011 film based on a book of the same name by Lionel Shriver. The book is based on a true story. I haven't read the book myself but recently read a review about on here and therefore when I saw it was being shown on sky movies I decided to give it a try. This is a film only review.
Eva is a woman with a passion for travel. Whenever the opportunity to travel arises she is there, ready and raring to go. However when she is at home she is a loner, she has no friends and spends the majority of her time alone. She has to take a job as a travel agent which she finds very frustrating as she wishes it was her that was going on the trips.
We then jump from the present day to 18 years previously when Eva and her now estranged husband, Franklin were expecting their first child. They are excited and looking forward to parenthood. However, as soon as Kevin is born Eva knows there is something wrong. Kevin seems extremely unhappy and he cries constantly. This of course leaves Eva feeling drained and she begins to question what she is doing wrong.
As soon as Franklin returns home Kevin is calm and quiet therefore leading him to think that Eva is simply over tired and as a result is overreacting. No matter what Eva says to Franklin she just can't seem to get through to him.
Months pass and Kevin is becoming increasingly difficult to cope with. Eva tries her hardest with him every day and wants to assist his development however he seems unwilling to do anything that he believes will please her. At around eighteen months he is still not talking. Eva decides to take him to the doctor. He sends her away telling her that physically, Kevin is a healthy child.
We follow the family over the years and watch as the relationship between mother and son becomes increasingly strained, leading to an 'incident' that they will never forget....
The film begins on a very depressing note. We follow Eva and anyone can see she isn't happy. Her life looks very lonely and I felt a strong sense of sympathy towards her - its immensely difficult being depressed no matter what your circumstances but she really had no one. I believe that this introduction was paramount to our opinions that were to be expressed as the film progressed as it made me feel protective for Eva.
Initially I was slightly worried that the film may be a bit dark for me, especially at 4:30 this morning when I felt absolutely shattered! I believe that the images and way the film is shot really assist in providing this melancholy tone from the outset - visually everything appears dull, dreary and dark. There are no colours used which reflect how Eva must feel in her life.
I was skeptical of Franklin but I don't know why. I think it may have been because I had seen how unhappy Eva had become. I also didn't like the way he assumed that Eva was overreacting about Kevin being a difficult baby. I appreciate that in the 1980s less was known about looking after the mothers mental health after the birth however I just felt that being her husband, he could have tried to have been a bit more understanding, listening to her concerns and trying to help.
Kevin was unnerving. As a baby he just seemed very distressed for no apparent reason however as soon as he became a toddler you could see that there was something deeper going on. It was very easy to see how difficult motherhood must have been for Eva and my heart went out for her as the film progressed as even when Kevin was old enough to understand emotions and see how other children behaved, he still seemed to hate his mother.
Kevin didn't seem to be interested in anything most children his age would be, he ignored balls, didn't want to read, however he displayed a fondness for numbers and showed promise in mathematics from a very young age. Due to the media hype surrounding autism over the last decade I believe that most people would instantly recognise his symptoms and make the link however, Eva had no answers or support.
I couldn't help but begin to feel some awkwardness towards Kevin. I don't think dislike is the correct term here because I have worked with autistic people and know that a lot of his actions he simply didn't see as his mother would have. I just found the film increasingly difficult to watch as I felt very sorry for the family, Eva especially.
The acting in the film really is sublime. It is of an extremely high standard and I saw the cast entirely as the characters, making it all the more real to me and therefore having a more profound effect. I thought that the characters were all portrayed extremely well and I am aware that it is based on a true story which makes it seem all the more chilling.
The plot flowed well and I believe it was essential to follow the family over a prolonged period of time so that we as the viewer could recognise how Eva must have felt as much as possible. There are flashforwards throughout the film bringing us back to the present day. I believe that these were essential for adding suspense to the plot and keeping the audience focused.
The ending of the film is done very well. It is quite a blunt ending but I think that this is important to highlight the events that came previously. I found that it was one of those films that has stuck in my mind and I have been thinking about it a lot throughout the day. It is a shocking film and obviously as it is based on a true story this makes it all the more harrowing.
The film was released in 2011.
It was directed by Lynne Ramsay.
The screenplay was written by Lynne Ramsay and Rory Kinnear.
The film runs for 112 minutes.
It is rated a 15 in the UK which I believe to be correct due to upsetting scenes.
A film that is definitely worth a watch. It is thought provoking and chilling but had me glued to the screen throughout.
So I've just written a review of the book, with the same name, by Lionel Shriver and I felt it would be apt to follow it up with a review about the film. I saw the film before I read the book, last year when I was working at a cinema. I would pretty much go and see every film that was released and though I knew the book through my other job at a bookshop the hype for this film was relatively low key. There was little advertisement, in fact if I hadn't been working at the cinema I might never have seen it.
The film premièred at the 2011 Cannes Film festival and has received really great critic and audience feedback. In the cinema it was one of those lesser known and frequented films, certainly where I worked it was, and I think the two thirds empty screen only added to the atmosphere of the film for me. I have since bought this film on DVD and really enjoyed watching it for a second time, this time after having read the book. The film is definitely seen in a different light once you have read the book and can get a feel for the things that are edited out and the slight differences that are apparent. Personally I am glad I saw the film first but there is quite a big plot twist that is revealed in the film and could spoil the book for some so if you prefer reading the book first then definitely go down that route.
The film follows the life of Eva Khatchadourian, both in the present and the past. In the present she is a fatigued and traumatised looking woman who lives alone in a ramshackle house. She is the target of verbal and physical abuse from other people in the town because, as you find out, of her son Kevin. She works in a crappy travel agents and drinks away her cares in between visiting her son in prison. Her life is sad and it is hard to see how she has got to this point once you see how blissful her old life was. The film has continuous flashbacks to Eva before she has Kevin and then throughout her pregnancy and his childhood. There are references to the incident in which he is involved and for which he has presumably been incarcerated, though it is unclear entirely what he has done and why.
The flashbacks tell the story of a working woman, very much in love with her husband, who enjoys the freedoms afforded to her by owning her own very successful company. Eva set up the company which produces budget guides to travelling in various countries. She is clearly adept at her job and thoroughly enjoys the travel and the power position she holds. She and Franklin decide to have a child, despite Eva never really feeling the maternal drive that other women have. She quite clearly hates her pregnancy, labour and the early days of Kevin's life. She struggles to bond with her baby in the way most mothers do and his defiance as he grows older grates on her. her relationship with Kevin is frosty and forced, she pretends to be the caring mother whilst truly hating him and his malicious behaviour towards her. Her relationship with Franklin seriously deteriorates as the film progresses and even the birth of their second child cannot heal the growing rift. I won't spoil the ending for you because it is truly explosive and shocking, but needless to say there are surprises in store for the viewer.
The film is ultimately an exploration of motherhood and parenting. There is a deep discussion of nature vs nurture and whether Kevin is shaped by his cold mother or born the way he is. There are certainly parts of the book that are left out in the film, and with good reason because the book is 400+ pages. I think they cut the film in a way that the story it tells is still fundamentally the same as the book, just with less detail. I do think the film fails the capture the letter writing aspect of the book which is so important, as the format is Eva writing to her estranged husband following the incident in which Kevin was involved. This is such a central part of the story and the plot twist kind of hinges on this aspect, though it does still work very well in the film and is utterly shocking. I also think what is missed out in the film is the way in which as the book progresses the reader learns to questions Eva's account of what happened and think more deeply about her role in Kevin's demise. It is hard to get this aspect across in the film and this makes the viewer perhaps more sympathetic with Eva which I do think is detrimental to the purpose of the book. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed it both before and after reading the book.
Now, let's discuss the cast because this is probably one of the strongest suits of the film and really where is owes a lot of it's credibility and success. Tilda Swinton is simply mesmerising as Eva, she so perfectly captures her nature and so completely embodies Eva's anger and frustrations about the way her life has panned out. What is incredible is the haunted look of Eva in the film, she truly looks like a woman who has lived through trauma and this is something you don't really get in the book as it is from a first person perspective which you are not always sure you can trust. Her defiance to stay in the small town where the incident took place is probably one of the best aspects of the film, and played incredibly well by Tilda. John C Reilly also puts in a great performance as Franklin, and manages to capture his forgiving and trusting nature in such a heart breaking way. Ezra Miller is truly the star of the show for me. He brings Kevin to life in such a magical and shocking way that you literally can't take your eyes off the screen. He manages to evoke the charisma and sharp tongue that Kevin exhibits whilst also presenting his cold and darker sides magnificently. For an emerging actor it is great to see such an incredible performance and I am thoroughly looking forward to his upcoming role in 'The Perks of being a Wallflower' which is due for release in cinemas in September.
Overall, this is a dark and shocking film which captures the heart of the book whilst adding an interesting visual dimension through the screen.
The first time I watched this movie was about a week ago when I saw it on Anytime on Sky. From reading the description of the movie I thought it sounded good but when I started watching I switched off instantly. The opening to the movie starts with loads of people walking and falling all over themselves in some sort of red substance. This went on for what felt like a few minutes and at this point for me the movie just seemed quite weird and I didn't pay any attention and switched off and went on the computer while it was playing on the TV next to me.
From then I kept glancing at the TV while it was on but wasn't really taking it in. The part that caught my eye was when Kevin's mother picks him up and throws him on the floor when he was a kid it made me start watching for a while then I switched off again shortly after. There where a few other parts in the movie that caught my eye and made me want to actually take the time and watch it properly. After watching the movie a second time it actually is a good movie but it takes some understanding well for me it did anyway.
------------Plot & Movie Style------------
Kevin goes on a spree of killings and kills some high school students and ends up in jail and the movie follows events leading up to this tragic incident. The movie is all about the trouble relationship between a mother and son. Mother Eva gets pregnant and from the birth of her son that have trouble getting along with him crying all the time when he is in her care as a baby. Kevin's father Franklin gets the best of Kevin and fails to see any wrong in him as he grows up. The movie includes moments of Kevins life from childhood to his teenage year which all seem to be very disturbing the way his attitude was in both times of his life.
The style of the movie is through flashbacks of Eva sharing stories of what it was like raising Kevin and the troubles they had and how Kevin's incident has effected her life. At first I found the flashbacks to be very confusing because neighbours stare at Eva and treat her bad at some points throughout the movie and I never really understood why they didn't like her until I watched the whole movie. Then when it got to the end I was like ooh and everything was pieced together.
The non-linear structure of the plot is what makes it a little more complicated to to understand. I'm not usually into stuff like this I much prefer movies with a beginning, middle then end but after watching I think it's worth a look.
I think the whole movie plot is very unique and I can't say I have seen any movie like this one. One thing that I thought they could have made a little more clear is what was Kevin's problem because he must have had a disorder or something that brought on his hatred of people.
I felt quite sorry for Kevins mom throughout the movie because I think she truly cared about him alot and tried her hardest to bond with him. I think the amount of it they showed about their relationship in the movie was perfect because they didn't spill to much they just gave me enough of an insight into the family for me to sort of understand each angle of the family. By this I mean the father being blind to what was going on, The mother being on the verge of giving up and the daughter of being the child the mother always wanted in Kevin.
---------Cast & Acting---------
---Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian
---John C. Reilly as Franklin Plaskett
---Ezra Miller as Kevin Khatchadourian
---Jasper Newell as six-eight-year-old Kevin
---Rocky Duer as infant Kevin
---Ashley Gerasimovich as Celia Khatchadourian
I think the characters in this movie where very well cast especially Kevins characters. Kevin as a child was a very interesting character because it was well played that he could switch from being happy with the dad and so evil to the mom without the father ever suspecting there was a problem. I think Jasper Narwell who played the childhood Kevin was excellent and they picked a good actor. He acted like a little brat for the most part of the movie but I loved it how his personality could easily switch.
The teen Kevin I think was also good at his role and I liked how he portrayed the role because his calmness and how laid back he was made him seem more evil and it worked.
I think out of the two Kevins I like him best at childhood as there was more stories from his childhood than teen years. Also I think it's so common for movies to have troubled teens that's probably why I preferred his childhood more.
Even though I initially thought the movie was rubbish I think this movie is definitely worth a watch because it's alot different from alot what is out today. The movie made me wander if there is actually parents that go through this. Maybe not to this extent but if there are parents that can't bond with there children leading them to do things to hurt them.
The movie is available at the moment to watch free on Sky Anytime for those who have it. If not it's available on DVD to buy new & used from £6.48 on Amazon. There is a book to the movie and I am definitely going to have a read of it because the books are usually better so will review that also when I have finished reading. I recommend watching this movie if you come across it.
The movie is rated 15 years and over and contains sexual scenes, violence and strong language.
I have wanted to watch We Need to Talk about Kevin for a few years now. I don't know where I first heard about it, but I think it was probably some film website or magazine when it first went into production. Call me morbid but the general gist of the film caught my attention as something that hadn't really been covered before - the American high school killings that occur quite tragically every now and then. I remember speaking to my sister about it and we both wanted to read the book too but decided to see the film first. For one reason or another it managed to pass me by on its release at the cinema. I get the impression it didn't do particularly well or wasn't in many cinemas as like I say it passed me by and I do visit the cinema quite regularly (in fact on researching this, it appears despite funding from the UK Film Council and the BBC, it only just managed to break about even on its $7 million budget). Anyway, when I saw it on Sky Anytime recently, I knew I had to watch it that night, and snuggling down with the iPad in bed I started to watch.
I wasn't instantly disappointed but I could tell by the cinematography that it had been filmed quite differently and it wasn't what I had been expecting. Only a handful of words had been muttered within the first half an hour or so and seemed to have long periods of scenes where an individual would just be sat starting at a wall, etc. It was just a little slow / weird.
The film spends much of its time avoiding what has actually happened. I guess this is the whole point as it's something that people don't seem to really talk about, and it follows Eva (Tilda Swinton) as she tries to get back to some kind of normality after what is referred to as the 'incident'. She lives alone and very much a lonely life with little money and enjoyment in her life. She is shunned by the community and although she was once a successful travel writer, works in a low paid job as a clerk in a travel agency. The film flicks between periods of time, and this is made obvious by various hair styles she has during the film. As a viewer you witness her living in a big grand house with a young child and husband to being alone with few belongings in a shack of a house. Although the film clearly follows Eva as its central character, it introduces the difficult relationship with her son from birth and over the years as he grows. This is the part of the film that I found most uncomfortable. Eva cannot bond with her son at all; he is quite frankly a terrible, naughty child who does everything he can to make her life miserable, even from an early age. I found this quite difficult to watch in places, being a mother; it's just terrible to see the effect they have on one another. He is detached and shows no emotions, except when he hurts his mother or others she loves. Eager to change his behaviour they have a second child who is perfectly 'normal' in the way she behaves and has a strong emotional bond with her mother, all of which seems to aggravate Kevin further.
The acting in the film is definitely award winning, evident in the number of nominations towards Swinton and her leading actress role - a far cry from Narnia. John C. Reilly is certainly different in this film than any other role I have seen him in before such as Step Brothers or Zombieland, but the acting by Ezra Miller of a teenage Kevin is simply haunting and it's clear why he has been recognised as one of the faces of the future by Nylon Magazine's Young Hollywood Issue.
At 112 minutes, the film does seem to go on slightly, however it all leads up to the final 5 minutes of the film where the 'incident' is played out in full for the viewer. Adapted from Lionel Shriver's novel, the film was premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
I can't make my mind up about this film. Perhaps it's because I wanted to watch it for so long, perhaps it's because it was chilling, either way I would definitely say it's a film that you need to watch and make up your own mind about.....
Adapted from the bestselling book of the same name by Lionel Shriver (which I have not read), I thought this was going to be more of a thriller but it was a surprisingly engrossing art horror.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
After a horrific incident involving her son Kevin (Ezra Miller), Eva (Tilda Swinton) recalls the events that led up to it, from his birth onward. Shot from her perspective, Kevin has always been against her, whilst acting like a sweet boy to his dad, Franklin (John C. Reilly). Eva wonders if what happened was ever her fault.
Retold from numerous flashbacks, the pacing of the film was much more adventurous then it really is. Though confusing at times, it soon became obvious what timescale things were being shown by Eva's hairstyle. You are given pieces of the puzzle and you try to work out just what this tragedy is. The fluidity of flashback and present is beautifully done, with sounds, colours or images that link and remind her of it.
One of the strongest elements of this film (and supposedly in the book) is the colour red and how this is represented in objects throughout the film to symbolise danger, caution, blood. In this way, there was always a foreshadowing of something to come and these things gradually heightened and developed.
The grotesque nature of the film also adds to the mental play between mother and son- in the film this is done in a sexual way which is apparently not in the book.
The conflicting characteristics of Kevin is also intriguing. Did he ever love his mother? Was he mentally unstable? Could she have done anything to make it right? What you question as the audience is if at any point this hate could have been dissipated?
Eva on the other hand is portrayed as the victim, innocent and deserving of our sympathy. She may be just as confused as we are. As the film leads up the the climax and the ending, her search for answers leads to an non-definitive explanation. Why did Kevin do what he did?
Tilda Swinton- Eva
John C. Reilly- Franklin
Ezra Miller- Kevin
Both Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller did a really genuine performance and I was surprised Tilda Swinton did not get an Oscar for this, though she was up against Meryl Streep :P
The film is dark, grotesque and really quite artistic, an interesting exploration of love, hate, destruction and tragedy. With strong solid performances by Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller, 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' will shock you.
***Film Only Review***
Today was my day off and having recorded the film off Sky Anytime a few weeks ago I vowed myself that I would finally sit down and watch it. To be honest I had very high expectations having read the book ages ago and found it very slow paced, not in any way exhilerating or captive and a very sombre reading experience to be quite frank. However, my friend raved about the film and I heard the main actress (Tilda Swinton) won a golden globe award for her performance and gave a stunning delivery of the troubled and now widowed mother Eva Katchadourian due to her son Kevin's actions. Whilst I agree she does an amazing and outstanding job and is undoubtedly convincing in her role the rest of the film in it's entirety lacks any oomph and I simply found myself wanting to fall asleep!
- Plot -
Readers of the book and people aware of the basic premise of the film will be aware that it revolves around Kevin; the antagonist of the film who seems troubled, antisocial (to say the least!) and a sociopath, who has committed a massacre at his school. (Amongst other murderous crimes!) The film revolves around flashbacks of Eva, prior to being pregnant with a child she never really wanted or welcomed, scenes throughout his childhood and the birth of their second child Celia, and scenes post the event when she now works at Travel agent and she is trying to readjust to her new lonely life.
- My Opinion -
I found the film jumped around too sporadically, and viewers who hadn't read the book or had any concept of the topic of the film would instantly lose interest after the first 5 minutes. There are a lot of irrelevant scenes in which people are jumping around in tomatoes (eh?) and it doesn't convey well her past as an affluent Travel writer and how much of an adventurous free spirit she used to be and exactly how Kevin brought her down as is a lot more evident from the book. The film does an excellent job at questioning all parenting and the "innate" nature we all assume mothers are born with. It is clear Eva is unable to cope with a constantly crying baby, and he is purposely awkward as he grows by not speaking, refusing to be potty trained and coming across as a compulsive liar. What mother could really put up with this when their own child does not give any affection, says he hates you every day and gets joy from hurting others? I totally sympathised with Eva throughout the film and yearned for her to be happy and be rid and free from the weight Kevin bore on her shoulders making her life miserable. Even after conviction she tried to be a doting mother and visit him in prison but it is clear even these visits are forced and strenuous.
The actors of Kevin both as a child and as a disturbed teen are outstanding and deserve recognition, but I just feel a slightly better orchestrated film and fluency to the storyline would have done it far more justice.
~ We Need To Talk About Kevin ~
*Film only review*
I was flicking through Sky Anytime last night when I came across this film. I had never heard of it before and up until writing this reveiw I was unaware that the film is based on a book of the same name - We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver which was released in 2003 and subsequently went on to win the 2005 Orange Prize.
It was adapted to film only recently in 2011.
I had only the brief Sky sypnosis to go by which didn't tell me very much at all really, so I watched this film in the hope that it would be good and enjoyable.
Tilda Swinton plays the main character Eva Khatchadourian. For this part she was nominated for various different awards and went onto win quite a few. She stars alongside John C. Reilly who plays her husband Franklin. Eva and Franklin's relationship seems to be a good one and there are no obvious arguments, they seem pretty solid.
The beginning of the film was quite boring and for at least seven minutes there was some quite music being played and various scenes. This didn't really give much insight into the film and I found this bit hard to understand and hard to follow. Yet despite this it did keep me intruigied to find out what the film was going to be about.
The film follows a pattern of Eva's emerging memories, so we see the now, the past and how life was for her through the various stages and of course back to the now. It's a rather interesting layout and watching this film and finding out that there is a book I think it is one I would like to read.
We see Eva and Franklins relationship devolp and she gets pregnant, scenes here suggest to me that she wasn't enjoying her pregnancy and wasn't your typical blooming mother to be, and after giving birth to baby Kevin she doesn't seem all that maternal and mum and baby don't seem to be bonding very well.
I think people will have their own opinions on this but to me it seems that the baby has picked up on Eva's feelings and whilst she is going through the motions she just doesn't seem to connect with Kevin very well. Franklin on the other hand appears to have formed quite a good bond with Kevin and in a way Eva seems a little resentful of this, which is totally understanding.
As a toddler Kevins dislike of his mother becomes more apparant.
In one scene we see Eva decorting her home office in old maps she leaves briefly to answer the phone and upon her return we see that Kevin has taken his water pistol and filled it with ink, the results are not good!
As you can imagine Eva is less than impressed and things takes a downwards spiral and an incident occurs.
After this we do see a different side to Eva and Kevins relationship where he tries to protect his mother.
At this point I was wondering why Eva has chosen to work from home. I think the situation would have been much improved had Franklin stayed home and Eva work elsewhere. This was something I wondered through the whole film!
Franklin seems to effortlessly gain Kevins love and respect and he teaches him how to fire a crossbow in the garden and this is where his love of archery begins. The archery seems to be Kevins way to let off steam and he is often seen in the garden.
As the story moves on Eva and Franklin give Kevin a baby sister named Celia, whilst pregnant with Celia, Eva tries to explain to Kevin how babies come about and this conversation turns into something else. The way Kevin speaks is quite shocking and quite old, yet Eva seems to simply answer his question without much thought.
Of course you would expect any new baby to bring a bit of jelousy which is apparent in the film but not in a severe way just the normal stuff.
Kevin doesn't go out of his way to please his sister and Celia hints at the sometimes nasty things he says to her yet it all just seems in the way that siblings do!
Unlike Kevin Celia is a happy loving child and Eva seems a totally different person with her as to what she is/was like with Kevin.
The only time in the film that we see any show of affection between Eva and Kevin is when he is ill. It is at this time he seems to be a normal little boy, yet this sadly doesn't last and Eva's hopes are dashed.
We see Eva trying to get through to Kevin yet all her efforts are rejected, as a teenager she tries again yet is seems too little too late.
It seems that nobody other than Eva see's just how troubled Kevin is, and even though Kevin directs his anger at Eva I find it strange how Franklin just doesn't seem to pick up on it!
I really don't understand why they - Eva and Franklin didn't push the doctors for more help with Kevin or even go for a second opinion when the first doctor says he is fine.
I am a mother and I know that if my son was to behave the way that Kevin did then I would surely seek out any help I could find!!!
As a baby he cried, as a toddler he wasn't very pleasant, the same as a child and again as a teenager. As a teen he just seems overly sulky and miserable and not very nice!
Eva's life now in the film is completely different as to how it used to be, the events of the past have changed her life so much and you can see that she feels partly to blame for how Kevin turned out.
Tilda Swinton was fantastic, the emotions portrayed were so real and she just generally played the part effortlessly.
John C. Reilly portrayed the character with ease yet I would have liked to see more of him.
Little Ashley Gerasimovich who plays Celia was fab, she is a fine little actress.
And as for the actors who play Kevin, well they are simply outstanding. They all play the part in such compelling ways.
Rocky Duer played Kevin as a toddler.
Jasper Newell as 6-8yr old Kevin.
Ezra Miller as Teen Kevin.
I think they all played the part so well.
My overall opinion ~
Whilst I did enjoy the film I do feel there are parts that could have made more sense in a way and I feel that the film could have been better. The acting however was superb, they played the parts brilliantly.
I just feel that there could have been a bit more to the film. I don't know why but it was a little bit slow maybe.
Thanks for reading :o) x
The film starts with a lonely woman, she is mistreated in public, looked at like dirt and her home and car are vandalized, you begin to wonder what happened to her, the screen closely follows her eyes looking into her past and looks through a collection of her memories, you begin to see her romance with her husband, her memories of travelling and her pregnancies memories! You begin to wonder what Kevin did!
The way the story is told adds an element of mystery to the film, because I had no idea of what the film was about I was kept in suspense every time, when we are introduced to Kevin, he is a small child who is very nasty to his mother and mistreats her, he clearly shows the signs of being a very dark person, or even a socio path from a very young age! Why was no help brought in? Well Kevin covers up every single dark action and motive by forming a kind and loving relationship with his father, anything his mother says about Kevin is written off as her being crazy or silly.
Tilda Swinton who plays Kevin's mother is great throughout, John C Reilly seems to have a more serious role compared to his roles in Step-brothers and other comedies which is also does really well and Ezra Miller my favourite cast member of all used his dark look and deep acting to play off the perfect teenage Kevin, a lot of films have me shouting at the screen because of terrible acting, but this has a great and fitting cast!
The story line has some important missing parts, for one you see Kevin be born quite an evil small child and he seems to have been just born that way, the film focuses on the failure to bond with the child but doesn't focus on the mothers actions enough, she fails to teach him anything and even breaks his arm in anger, but there is a serious part missing in the storyline of how Kevin ended up the way he did, he kills school-children from his school but because of the onesided storyline you question his motives for this, no part of the film focuses on the school or any bullying that may have gone on, I would have prefered to see how Kevin acted in other social situations to try and place this actions!
*The film overall*
The film is two hours long, it is very one-sided and misses out on the major, Whats wrong with Kevin? and how Kevin behaved elsewhere, but as for a heartbreaking mothers story about a son who has done some terrible actions, it is a really great film! You see a woman who has had to take responsibility for her sons actions and how her life has changed and become a mess because of her own son and really does bring up some tears and thoughts! I'd give this a four out of five!
Lionel Shriver's novel, on which this film is based and the winner of the Orange Prize, was ground breaking (Although I've seen medical text books that are easier to read). Whilst the film is a lot easier to digest, it lacks the small intricate moments that the novel has.
The story, not told in sequential order, is told through the perspective of Eva, a bit of an ice queen type woman who is dealing with coming to terms with 'the action' of her son, Kevin, which has had a damaging effect on the local community and has made Eva a social outcast. As the story unfolds more is learnt through flashbacks (well integrated ones, not like crazy sci fi) about what her son has done as well as how the relationship between Kevin and Eva has developed since Eva found out she was pregnant. Kevin's relationship with his father and sister is also explored to some degree but the film is very much focused on Kevin.
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia and The Beach) stars as Eva in perhaps one of the best performances of recent times (She should have got an Oscar nomination) and Ezra Miller gives a great if somewhat chilling portrayal of Kevin. John C. Reilly (Chicago) is Kevin's dad Franklin. Praise also needs to be given to the child performers Jasper Newell and Rocky Duer who play Kevin at various ages and Ashley Gerasimovich as Celia, Kevin's sister. The pure acting ability of the cast is worth it alone.
Extras are a little on the thin side with cast and crew interviews and a theatrical trailer. The interviews are interesting but there was an opportunity to delve further into the things we need to talk about regarding Kevin that couldn't have been expanded with a feature or commentary maybe.
Why you need to read the book
The book, as the film, is told entirely from Eva's perspective (Through letters to Kevin's father Franklin) yet the novel format provides far more insight into Eva's mind than a film can ever allow (And her mind is freaky, which makes it both difficult but rewarding to read). The film seems to center more around the idea of Eva coping with a son with evil tendencies whereas the novel gives more comprehension, things are never so straight cut and that Eva herself may need to take some of the blame for Kevin's actions as what he does is directed at her to gain a response. The book also provides more opportunity to see Kevin interacting with people outside of the immediate family and does a better job at demonstrating the high level of intelligence that Kevin has, showing his boredom and lack of challenge, as well as Eva's distaste for family life and desire to be elsewhere. Both Eva and Kevin's relationships with Franklin and Celia are also given more focus, particularly in regards to Eva's feelings in regards to Celia that the film overlooks suggesting that their relationship is normal. Yes, the book is hard to get into, it's cold in places, drawn out and self involved, but reading it gives you a sense of Eva is and how this may have influenced Kevin.
The original novel questions the nature of evil, is it a genetic trait embedded into our very nature or is a a accumulation of experiences, influences and childhood development. How much is nature and what is a product of nurture? It's by no means a new question, attachment theory is a well studied area (I won't bore you too much with it all, if you'd like to find out more google John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Philip Shaver, Mary Target). The general understanding of it is that the attachments we form/don't form as a child affects our behaviors and relationships in later life. Whether this is the cause of Kevin's issues who knows but the possibility is addressed for less in the film than in the novel.
You might also like...
Elephant and Homeroom which are similar but from the perspectives of teenage school children.
Certificate 15 years and over
Languages English - Dolby Digital (5.1)
Subtitles English for the hearing impaired
Duration 1 hour and 52 minutes (approx)
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
Having loved this book I was excited to see what the film had to offer. Alas, this film does not stand up to the book at all. I felt that the film tried very hard to come across as arty but to me it lacked depth of character.
We need to talk about Kevin tells the story of a mother and her son Kevin from the mothers perspective. The film begins in the aftermath of some sort of "incident" as the film unfolds you will find out the circumstances leading up to Tilda's messy solitary existence.
Kevin comes across as a bogey man. I feel the film presents him as simply a bad kid there is no complexity or subtlety. Tilda Swinton's character comes across as a normal mother who we should simply take pity on. After watching the extra features on the DVD I came to the conclusion that the director and the actors did understand the complexity of the book but it just did not come over on the final product.
I think the error may be trying to tell the story purely from the mothers perspective. Their are no interesting interactions which may lead you to question whether the mother may be in question at any time in her raising of Kevin because Kevin is so obviously awful. I also found the flash backs and constant blood symbolism just plain annoying. Yes we get the point! Its such a shame because we have excellent actors and great source material in the book but the film and the script really gave them nothing to work with.
After watching this film I re- read we need to talk about Kevin which reinforced exactly what was lacking from the film. I would highly recommend you read this book the film however, I wont rave about.
I bought this book from Waterstones a few years ago and began reading maybe a page into it. I'm not quite sure why, probably because of other commitments, I stopped reading temporarily and when a friend of mine asked to borrow it, I lent it to her, and after that I have no idea what I ever did to it. Its never shown up anywhere in my house and I don't imagine my Mum would throw away a book, but it is what it is, almost so interesting that a Poirot episode could be made out of it (I kid, I kid). Anyway, I always prefer to read the book before the film, as I am much more of a book person anyway, and I prefer to make my own judgements and see how the film percieves the book, but this time sadly I couldn't. I ummed and ahhed whether or not I should re-buy the book, read it, and then watch the film but curiosity won and I ended up sitting down to watch.
The film has the capability to be a pretentious, airy disarray with a little too many issues thrown in and attempted to deal with in one sitting. Yet it is not. I could also have portrayed Eva (Tilda Swinton) as a cold, unsympathising mother who is somehow abnormal for struggling to love her own son. Yet, again, it does not. Instead with this film you get a thought-provoking, hard hitting drama that on occasion really made me sit and think about numerous things. Is that not what we want from our drama genre flms, and in We Need to Talk About Kevin, that is all we get.
Eva (Swinton) is a mother of a difficult 'problem' child who through no lack of trying she cannot seem to relate to. Her husband Franklin (Reilly) is unhelpful and tends to add more guilt to this already struggling mother's worries, as he suggests she should try harder, or that their son Kevin is just a 'normal little boy'. He however, is not at home to see the sign Kevin shows for a number of different mental abnormalities, such as his incontinence up to nearly as old as 8, his spitefulness, emotional blackmailing schemes, and his lack of any signs of pain when Eva accidentally causes him to break his arm. Kevin is a very disturbed little boy, and Eva alone is left to endure this.
The film is very interesting in that it shows Eva's acceptance of what Kevin did and attempts to move on in her life. The townspeople are unforgiving, using her as a catalyst of their own anger and devastation at the school massacre Kevin enforced. This is so intense that she must hide from mothers of children who were involved, and is even slapped in broad daylight in the street. This was perhaps the first question the film made me consider, and it was one that I struggled to answer. Eva's son decided to act out something awful and is in prison for it, yet she is the one who is punished. It is telling that our society would do this, and this is not merely the work of Hollywood, as it is not really that extraordinary to think this kind of thing would happen. It is not only telling however, but a little heart-breaking for me too.
Eva attempts to build a relationship with her son Kevin frequently and shows signs of jealousy at the ease with which Franklin is able to connect with him. There are few instances where they appear to be friendly with one another, but the Kevin proceeds to neglect his father and treat him in the way he usually does to his mother. This is always short-lived however, as their relationship is never really established, and you could never truly say they had any kind of connection.
Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian
John C. Reilly as Franklin Plaskett
Ezra Miller as Kevin Khatchadourian
Jasper Newell as six-eight-year-old Kevin
Rocky Duer as infant Kevin
Ashley Gerasimovich as Celia Khatchadourian
Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Wanda
Alex Manette as Colin
Having only seen Tilda Swinton in very few roles, I was remarkably suprised by how much I immediately began to enjoy and become involved with her character. Similarly, the acting of Ezra Miller, teenage Kevin in the film, was equally as intense and yet moving. Despite playing a psychopath, I still felt somewhat connected to him, which is a great task for someone so young to do, in particular and actor so remotely known. I don't really have any faults, even Reilly, who I thought would be entirely unsuitable for the role, took it up well and helped to portray the fragility within his and Eva's marriage excellently.
I have watched many films over the years but this is perhaps the only one to make me think quite so much. The journey Eva explores, and the bizarre but also kind of comforting way in which she departs from Kevin after visiting him in prison for the last time is also very interesting. Despite being made to grow a kind of hatred for Kevin, how he treats his mother, and of course what he did, I did find myself sympathising with him a little as it appeared he didn't even know himself. He admits that he has never been happy, and this is a unique way to consider the mind of such a disturbed individual. The film is sporadic in nature, perhaps to mirror the way in which Tilda is forced to live her life, never knowing how people will approach her, whether they are willing to move on, or to blame her. It was perhaps this method that was most interesting as it meant I was constantly hoping the next moment would explain WHY Kevin did it, yet that answer never comes. However, that does not mean the film is lacking. Instead, the film is just a little too realistic if anything.
A new copy of the DVD on Amazon will set you back £9.99, but I definitely feel it is worth the money. Used tends to be about £2-3 off that price.
This is definitely a film I would recommend. Despite knowing from the beginning the conclusion of Kevin's acting, there is still an interesting progression and my interest never waned. It would've been too easy to make this more commercially friendly, but they stuck with the concept, and in my opinion produced a genuinely excellent film.
Even before it was revealed, it was pretty obvious from the title and the shocking way that Tilda Swinton's character is treated in public, that Kevin has done something wrong. Terribly wrong. See, the contrast between Swinton in the flashbacks and the present makes for riveting stuff, even if ...Kevin makes for uncomfortable viewing.
From the day that Kevin is born, he shows signs of manipulative behaviour, potraying himself as an angel to his adoring father, but showing his true nature to his uptight mother, Eva. That very uptight persona given off by Eva is exactly why the boy's father doesn't believe a word she is saying with regard to Kevin. As he gets older, he becomes surlier and moodier, constantly at odds with his mother. As she tries to connect with him, it proves to be too little too late, as their bonding sessions appear to be nothing more than a battle of wits for him. Her husband continues to question her paranoia, until a tragic turns of events leave her in no doubt about her son's sociopath tendencies.
Based on a book from 2003, written by Lionel Shriver, Lynne Ramsay does a fine job of showing the steely Swinton during the frustrating early years and then contrasting her as a nervous battered down woman in the present day. Her descent into despair is authentic and organic, and played without frills, and there wont be a viewer who wont sympathise to some degree over her difficult child, although most will hope that their stroppy uncompromising teenagers will outgrow it. Although, the character of Eva is initially unsympathetic, her nervous tics and retirement from human contact is one of the most affecting characterisations I've seen in a long time.
Swinton herself gives the performance of her career, capturing the essence of Eva's steely stare from the outset, before turning her into the frightened nervous wreck that she becomes. Few actresses could contrast between superior and inferior so delicately, and the moment where she is ousted from a staff party by a petty sleazy colleague is heartbreaking in its simplicity. The kudos doesn't just go to her though. As Kevin, each of the young actors capture his empty glare perfectly, although it is Ezra Miller as the teenage Kevin who really terrifies with his cold blank eyes.
The script itself is also frill-less. Every line delivered is essential to the development of the story and the interaction of the characters. The psychological horror of having such a destructive force inside your own family unit may not be appealing, but it makes for absolutely gripping viewing. The writers fail to engage Kevin with any motive or reasoning for his behaviour, other than an early exchange between mother and son that is both shocking and understandable. This is what makes him more terrifying than any serial killer committed to screen.
It is unusual, with the current spate of "abused children" misery memoirs, to see something turning that on its head. In this household the abuser is not the parent, but the child, and it is done so effectively that a solid completely able woman is turned into a jittering mess. But this goes beyond just simple domestic abuse. What Kevin does is so utterly evil, that you couldn't really contemplate the reality of it all. This is the beauty of the bare bones script, simple direction, and captivatingly simple performances from all involved. Definitely a must see, but lock up your children before hitting the play button.
The film stars:
John C Reilly
Siobhan Fallon Hogan
I had heard a bit about this film when it came out and saw some positive ratings for it so I was interested to check it out for myself. I actually quite liked it and found it to be quite dramatic, well-done piece; my boyfriend struggled to sit through it and quite frankly hated it.
We Need To Talk About Kevin was directed by Lynne Ramsay, who has worked on a couple of pieces but nothing I recognise. It's based on a novel by Lionel Shriver that sold millions of copies, and I would imagine the sales were further helped by the film adaptation. The flick basically falls in to an 'emotional thriller' category with a hint of psychological underpinnings. We're introduced to Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton) and her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly), who seem to be happy enough together. Eva puts aside her career dreams to become a mother when she falls pregnant with a baby boy, who was to be named Kevin. From here on out, things start to go downhill.
A rather sullen and withdrawn baby, Kevin doesn't tend to react to his mother. As a toddler he seems to ignore her or become unpleasant, but he seems to be far better behaved and responsive towards his father. This obviously doesn't do much for Eva in terms of her feeling like a successful mum; she becomes worn down, depressed and desperate to make a breakthrough with her son. As time goes on, his behaviour becomes more unmanageable and Eva has an inclination that her son is deliberately acting this way despite her best efforts. It appears that only she can see this side of Kevin when he's otherwise okay towards Franklin.
Without giving too much away, there's another addition to the family when Kevin is a few years older, a little baby girl (played later by Ashley Gerasimovich). She and her mother get on great, but Kevin is still shunning Eva and perhaps suffering from jealousy of the newest arrival. That doesn't seem so uncommon; sibling rivalry isn't anything new after all. What is odd are the actual behaviours that Kevin displays from such a young age, even down to his unresponsiveness as a baby.
Things go from bad to worse when Kevin gets out of hand, becoming more dangerous than sulky. Again, it seems his intentions and cruelty are only visible by Eva, and this inevitably causes problems between her and her husband. How could she, a loving and caring woman, think her only son is evil? Surely he's just a normal kid, playing out in the garden with his dad and going to school and playing with his little sister...
What I really liked about this film was its sense of poignancy; the premise and the evil underlying Kevin's behaviour shone through as being dramatic but not overstated, malicious but not unrealistic. You do wonder how such 'evil' could happen, how others were blind to this side of Kevin, and yet the way the film gradually takes us through the life of this family makes it more understandable; I found I could empathise with Eva and her emotional strain between feeling angry and feeling guilty, between wanting nothing to do with her son but feeling ultimately responsible.
The film didn't have too much 'Hollywood Appeal'. Granted, some of the cast (ie Swinton and Reilly) were well-known, but it felt like an understated film. There wasn't any glitz and glamour and that helped to keep it down to earth, gritty and far more realistic. There were many quieter moments without any action which some may find tedious but I actually thought this helped to build up an atmosphere and to provide some background and reasoning behind the characters and their motivations. This again enabled it to be more emotive and, possibly because of my love for Psychology, more gripping, because I wanted to understand more about why Kevin did the things he did.
The story isn't told straight off from start to finish but it is gradually built up and I found it easy to keep up with who's who and what was going on. It didn't confuse me at any point but then again it wasn't a complex film; it was easy enough to watch but it still felt intelligent because of a strong cast, script and direction. The film had an overall sense of being somewhat dark and perhaps 'dull' is what some may say, but I'd argue that this just reflected the tone and nature of the content. The ending was so-so, but that couldn't have really changed anyway as this was based on the book; I'm one for explanations and reasons and the psychology behind so-called 'evil', so I would have like a little more coverage on Kevin at the end. I still liked the ending, but I thought it could have been stronger and tied the film up a tad better perhaps.
The cast was reasonably strong and Swinton did a fantastic job as Eva, portraying emotion well enough for me to be able to empathise and feel for her and the situation she was in. Other cast members included the age-related roles of Kevin, so Kevin as a toddler (Rock Duer), 6-8 years (Jasper Newell) and a teen (Ezra Miller). As a teen in particular, I thought Miller did a good job of being a bit creepy, sly and unhinged yet still appearing to his father as being a 'regular' kid. This again made it seem more realistic and easier to watch.
Overall I would recommend this even just because it caused an emotional response. I'm knocking a star off for its somewhat dull appearance at times and this won't be everyone's cuppa tea, but I thought it did the story justice by providing a strong cast, script and atmosphere.
Running time 112 minutes, rated Certificate 15.
DVD released 2012, Selling on Amazon for £9.97.