Friday, November 4, 2011

We Need to Talk About Kevin ★★★★★

We need to talk about Kevin should be called, “We will think about Kevin for a long time.”  Since watching this disturbing movie, scenes from it keep flashing through my mind.

Somehow, I arrived at the preview without seeing a trailer nor reading anything on the book.  As the story unfolded, each moment was a revelation.  This is the best way to see this film, so this review is intentionally vague in plot outline.  I will say one thing; this movie is a horror story.

We need to talk about Kevin is a dramatic thriller based on the award winning 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver.  It follows the relationship conflict from birth between Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton) and her son, Kevin, played by three different actors Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell as six-eight-year-old Kevin, Rocky Duer as infant Kevin.  The older Kevins’ portrayals are remarkable.  Eva must also deal with her husband Franklin’s (John C. Reilly) unsympathetic views of her difficulties with Kevin.  When Celia (Ashley Gerasimovich) is born, she adds another nail in the family’s relationship coffin.

From the beginning scenes we realize something terrible has happened, over which Eva, now without family and living a struggling isolated life, is guilt-ridden. Her acceptance of her guilt is heart-wrenching. Through well-handled flashbacks, we watch as Eva painfully remembers the key moments which have brought her to this disastrous point in her life.

Eva is a role few actresses could play. Tilda Swinton, gaunt and finely controlled in her emotions, will win awards for her role of the Mother attempting to understand how to love a child who is so unlovable. 

This is dark and gut-wrenching subject matter.  As a parent, I felt every moment of Eva’s confusion and desire to connect with her son, and protect her family.  You need to see this movie because it is a masterpiece of filmmaking and storytelling. 

However, there is a price to pay.  It will haunt you and unsettle you, just as Sophie’s Choice sometimes still crosses my mind thirty years later.  For a little while, I don’t think I will want to talk about Kevin.