Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #76 – We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)


RELEASED: 21st October 2011

DIRECTOR: Lynne Ramsay

CAST: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich and Siobhan Fallon

BUDGET: $7m

BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $6m

AWARDS: None (1 Golden Globe Nomination and 2 BAFTA nominations)

Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.

 

We Need To Talk About Kevin focuses on Eva Khatchadourian, once a travel-writer, and how she is adjusting to life after the ‘incident’ which involved her son Kevin. Due to this incident, Eva lives a solitary life, turned into a sacred woman that tries to avoid people who know about her situation as some openly shun her, whilst others seek violent actions toward her.

 

We Need To Talk About Kevin is Lynne Ramsay’s film adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel of the same name, focusing on the mother of Kevin struggling to come to terms with her son and the horrors he has committed. While the film inevitably touches on the matter of what Kevin actually did, a lot of the time instead is focused on the before and after, focusing primarily from Eva’s point-of-view. The film tackles the matter of how a person can be alienated/shunned amongst those in the community because of the actions of another, especially when you’re the parent of a child that commits a horrifically psychopathic act. Eva can’t leave her home without being screamed at, assaulted, even the house itself is vandalised. After all, she’s Kevin’s mother, she’s obviously raised him wrong and by default it’s her fault right? The present and past timelines are spliced throughout the films runtime as Eva is constantly haunted by certain moments of Kevin’s childhood leading up to the horrific event, living inside her mind most of the time. The film can often be argued as an example of nature vs nurture or showcase this film as the manifestation of the worst case of post-natal depression as we see how outgoing she was until she got pregnant, seemingly she didn’t feel ready to have any child and Kevin seemingly senses that at a young age and spends the rest of his life vowing to punish Eva for that, as he grows up knowing exactly what buttons to press to push Eva to her limit, and also know exactly how to hurt her. There’s no better example of how he hurts her in how he’s loving around his father Franklin, to the point that we as an audience understand that’s all that relationship is designed for. The film will point to Franklin as being either the absentee dad, being nice to Eva and the kids to the point that he is completely oblivious to the ongoing war between Eva and Kevin, as Kevin can do no wrong in his eyes. The performances from the cast are what sell the film, particularly Tilda Swinton’s performance as Eva, Ezra Miller is terrific as the teenage Kevin with such coldness and a thousand yard stare that will make your skin crawl and John C. Reilly is really good as Franklin, blissfully unaware of what is brewing underneath the surface or just demented in believing that they are living normal, acceptable lives.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: We finally get the sequence that reveals what Kevin did.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Just because you’re used to something doesn’t mean you like it. You’re used to me.” – Kevin

DID YOU KNOW: While Eva is grocery shopping, the PA system plays an instrumental version of the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?”–the title of which is a description of the estrangement and distance that Eva seems to have felt from her son since before he was born.

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