Newest Review: ... Shriver, the story follows the aftermath of a high school massacre which Kevin meticulously planned and executed. Swinton captures the ... more
Why didn't they talk about Kevin?
We Need To Talk About Kevin (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
We Need To Talk About Kevin (DVD)
Advantages: Superbly acted, intense, compelling, intelligently presented
Disadvantages: The film's title
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 112 MINS
DIRECTOR: Lynne Ramsay
PRODUCERS: Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg & Robert Salerno
SCREENPLAY: Lynne Ramsay & Rory Kinnear
INCIDENTAL MUSIC: Jonny Greenwood
Tilda Swinton as Eva
John C Reilly as Franklin
Rock Duer as Kevin when a toddler
Jasper Newell as Kevin when an older child
Ezra Miller as Kevin when a teenager
Ashley Gerasimovich as Celia
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on Lionel Shriver's novel (presumably of the same name), We Need To Talk About Kevin begins with his mother, Eva, having a flashback to the day when her son massacred several people at his school.
Eva is trying to live her life as best as she can after what Kevin had done, being shunned and scorned by her neighbours and having her house splattered with red paint. One or two people in the neighbourhood are reasonably OK with her, but most treat her as the mother of the demon from hell.
As we see Eva living on a knife-edge, trying so hard to cope with all the hostility around her, what led up to Kevin's killing spree is told in flashback format.
The film travels through Eva first meeting Kevin's father, then once Kevin is born, her having difficulty relating to her son who displays some very strange behaviour from an early age.
As Kevin grows older, his behaviour deteriorates rapidly, although he seems normal with and close to Franklin, his father. Kevin has strong resentful feelings towards his little sister Celia, and is expert at playing one parent off against the other. However, the behaviour Kevin displays most of the time is far more worrying than him simply being a difficult child.
Watch this fascinating, yet very intense and dark film to learn more.
In the first instance, I was a little wary about watching We Need To Talk About Kevin, simply because of the film's title. I just from that had the impression it was going to be one of these contrived, neat and pretty productions where we witness a problem child see the light and turn into some kind of care-bear prodigy. I certainly wasn't expecting what almost from the very first frame, turned out to be one of the most powerful, disturbing films I've ever seen.
I haven't read the book, so am unable to make comparisons, but the whole cast and crew responsible for making the film, obviously worked hard to create an intelligent, hard-hitting and very disturbing drama.
The acting from the whole cast is brilliant and extremely realistic. With this kind of subject matter, it would have been so easy for the actors to go down 'mush boulevard', but each cast member played their roles with an intense, dark, brooding and highly believable sense of accuracy.
The music to this film is rather interesting and a tad surprising. The incidental score is quite avant-garde in content, made up of various percussive sounds blended with very laid-back keyboard instrumentals. Music by Lonnie Donegan, The Beach Boys and Buddy Holly, to mention just a few, is also used.
I would imagine that everyone who watches We Need To Talk About Kevin will put a different interpretation on what, if anything, lies at the root of Kevin's behaviour. I found myself analysing the characters - especially Kevin and his mother Eva - tunnelling beneath the surface of the family's relationships with one another, and kept coming up with different answers to the point where I was unable to settle on a complete blanket conclusion.
I could see deep problems inside of the family in that although unintentionally, Eva came across as a rather distant, aloof, perhaps even cold mother who was trying to understand her son, yet appeared to be homing in on the wrong issues which needed to urgently be addressed and dealt with. On the other side of the coin, I saw a distinct lack of cohesion between Eva's and Franklin's parenting styles. It seemed to me that Kevin was caught between two extremes regarding his early childhood family influences, thus becoming seriously de-stabilised from a very early age.
The way the film is presented is quite unique in that it contains zero mush and zero sentiment....with what on the surface appears to be a normal, ordinary family, having deep-rooted issues that remain unaddressed.
There's no doubt about it that Eva blames herself for what Kevin grew up into, yet by the time she tries to make reparations, it is simply too late.
Some of the flashbacks which Eva has once she is alone and trying to live her life as best as she can are put across in a semi-surrealistic way, but it isn't a difficult film to understand or follow what is going on. I personally didn't find the scenes of Kevin's massacre disturbing....it was more his behaviour through his childhood that was harder to lie comfortably with. I'm not a parent myself, so probably am not qualified to make judgments, but I did cringe somewhat whilst watching the way Eva attempted to deal with Kevin's difficult behaviour, especially during his early childhood. I wanted to yell at the screen.... "Can't you see what you're doing to your son, woman!!!" - but, in the same situation, would I have behaved any differently? I don't know!
We Need To Talk About Kevin is an extremely thought-provoking film which has a very high realism factor, and I do wonder how many families not just in the USA, but in this country too, are having similar problems with their offspring. The title of the film I feel is a bit misleading, as it suggests things such as partners sparring over how to deal with a difficult child, therapy sessions, child psychiatrists and the like....but it isn't like that in the slightest. It's a straightforward story with a touch of surrealism about a family in crisis. The one question I am left with after seeing the film is.... Was Kevin a victim of 'scapegoating'? (By 'scapegoating', I mean the syndrome where the unaddressed problems of one or more family members are subconsciously 'dumped' onto one of the children, the chosen one then being viewed as the 'difficult one'). In this case, Kevin certainly is the 'difficult one', but, the question remains as to why. Is he a product of dysfunctional parenting, or was he born that way?
I could rattle on and on for hours, pulling this film apart and analysing it, but I shall stop now as I'm no expert, and there might not actually be any answers....perhaps it just is!
In summary, I strongly recommend We Need To Talk About Kevin, but feel that parents who are going or have gone through similar problems with a child of their own, may find it almost impossibly difficult to watch. It is a very realistic, hard-hitting, dark film that definitely pulls no punches. I'd like to believe that it may give some parents food for thought, but at the same time feel that it's not an issue which should be shoved down people's throats.
At the time of writing, We Need To Talk About Kevin can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £9.83 to £999.00 which is ridiculous. The highest price below that stupid figure is £22.25
Used: only one copy currently available @ £8.48
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A brilliant film, despite it being quite difficult to watch