We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller
Director Lynne Ramsay took on this dark and difficult story in her third feature-length film. The movie stars Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, Oscar nominee John C. Reilly, and rising star Ezra Miller. We Need to Talk About Kevinpremiered in 2011 as part of the competition at the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival. The story is based on a novel by the same name, written by Lionel Shriver. This was a breakout book for Shriver, who had previously been an unknown author living in London.
Is it nature or nurture that creates the person before you? Eva (Swinton) has tried to love her son Kevin (Miller) despite the increasing hate he shows her. As he’s grown up he has pulled away from her while staying faithful to his father Franklin (Reilly). When Kevin’s hatred takes the form of a terrifying act, Eva is left wondering where she failed as a mother. She’s also left wondering if she failed at all.
Swinton anchors a powerful film with an absolutely perfect performance. The role earned her nominations from the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and the British Independent Film Awards, just to name a few. With this movie she manages to show a range of emotions that really bring out the reality of the situation. She’s surrounded by some great actors as well. John C. Reilly does a wonderful job as a proud and often ignorant father. Once again he proves that he can do more than adult comedy. Another powerful performance comes from the young star Ezra Miller. His portrayal of the emotionless Kevin brings out the dark side of this film and really is magnificent.
This great list of performers come together to tell the story perfectly. The story is rough and painful, but manages to ask a lot of the right questions. In the end it’s another film that doesn’t have a happy ending, even the resolution in the movie is unsettling. Overall, it’s a movie for mature audiences that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The images used to tell the story are powerful and often direct. The camera work and music in this film feel made for one another. The technical aspects of the film seem to compliment the acting and the story in every way.
I guess I could say that much of this film feels like being in the room when a couple is breaking up. It’s uncomfortable and revealing.
I hope my readers are able to find a way to see this movie. Although it’s had a limited release in the United States it is available through IFC Films. I was lucky enough to get it through Netflix, which has often surprised me with the selection it has.
I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.