OSW Review | We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

Cast/Crew: Adapted from the titular book by Lionel Shriver. Directed and written by Lynne Ramsay, starring Tilda Swinton as Eva (the mother), John C. Reilly (his father Franklin) and Ezra Miller as Kevin.

Plot: Eva was happy until the birth of her son Kevin. He’s a mean-spirited antagonistic little shit that grows up to be an incarcerated acerbic psychopath. Poor Eva is put through the ringer on a daily basis, further alienated as Kevin puts up a loving front to his father. This is the story of her life picking up the pieces, intertwined with flashbacks filling in the past, building to a horrific event.

Thoughts :
• The film does an excellent job showcasing Kevin’s spite towards her (insulting and ruining her scrapbook room, spitting on a jam on bread and smashing it into the glass table and scowling at her etc) and the subsequent emotional distress Eva is subjected to. You really feel her being at wit’s end.
• John C Reilly plays the oblivious kind-hearted husband, who makes excuses for and defends Kevin, furthering Eva’s isolation. He’s perfect for the role.
• If I were Eva, I’d place cameras in the house – or at least keep a journal of everything he’s done, instead of internalising it. Some kind of evidence.
• It would’ve been interesting if Eva’s suspicions could be misplaced i.e. if she was wrong in some cases, suggesting things could be in her head. Although some of the incidents aren’t directly seen, the film is pretty loud and clear.
• The book is written as letters to her family, so it’s from her recollection of the events (i.e. she could be remembering it wrongly). The novel also places more blame on Eva (her reluctance in being a mother negatively influenced Kevin’s development) but it’s barely present here. All we really get is a loving mother that tries very hard – only once she really verbalises her resentment about being hated for no reason.
• I wouldn’t call it a horror, more a dark drama. The movie is spent chronicling Kevin’s actions, mentally hurting Eva, and her absorbing it.
• I would’ve liked to have seen at least one big shot showing the ramifications of what Kevin did. (ie many dead bodies). Shocked to hear there were problems with the “large budget” – it was written and looks to have cost very little.
• Poor Eva doesn’t deserve all of this, even though she moved, she’s still known as Kevin’s mother. Her second child, Celia, is lovely and is does nothing to soften that piece of shit Kevin.

Overall: It’s well-written but I’m not enriched by seeing a woman slowly emotionally battered and proven right in the worst possible way. Well-made but I Wouldn’t recommend.


Release Date
October 15, 2014