We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writer: Lynne Ramsay, Rory Kinnear
Based on: Lionel Shriver’s novel
Cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich

Plot:
Two years after her son Kevin (Ezra Miller) shot 9 people in his school, Eva (Tilda Swinton) is slowly coming to terms with what happened then and the part she might have played in this shooting. Slowly she unrolls her entire life with Kevin and the mounting tension with her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) as Eva grows more and more suspicious of Kevin, even as a toddler.

Since I loved the book as much as I did, the movie had its work cut out for itself. Fortunately, Lynne Ramsay is really up to the task and has made not only a great adaptation, but also a wonderful film.

Of course, there had to be some changes from the book. The story had to be shortened and some things that work in the book, wouldn’t work on screen. Ramsay managed to filter these things out and made an excellent adaptation that is faithful to the book, even if it isn’t completely the same in all details.

Sometimes the script might have been a little too subtle. But the only scene were that didn’t work out for me was the scene where Kevin’s arm gets broken. [SPOILER] In the book it’s made clear that after Eva throws Kevin across the room and breaks his arm, he basically rewards her for that and for keeping quite about it by losing the diapers. In the movie it seems more like violence is the only way Eva can get through to Kevin and she just needs to hit him to have him act the way she wants him to. [/SPOILER] But that’s a minor thing and open to interpretation.

The cast was absolutely fantastic. I expected nothing less of Tilda Swinton who really was the perfect choice for the role. My goodness, that woman is awesome. But John C. Reilly was great, too. And I was just blown away by Ezra Miller. So young and still incredibly creepy and sexy* at the same time.

I could just go on gushing about this film. Instead you should just go ahead and watch it yourself. And read the book.

Summarising: Totally recommended.

*Ezra Miller now brings my list of guys who are even sexy in their teens up to two entries. (The other guy is Aaron Johnson.) I feel like a dirty old woman.

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4 thoughts on “We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

  1. While I really loved the cast, I hated this picture. I know that I’m in the minority on this, but it didn’t work for me at all. It seemed to me that the movie actually tries to hold Eva at least partially responsible for what happened – a message that I loathe. Also, it didn’t gel well with them trying to make us feel for her. Given the fact that SPOILER her family was killed too /SPOILER I also had a hard time believing that she would earn as much hatred as she did. Isn’t she a victim too? And I absolutely loathed the “born this way”-explanation.

    When I watched it I expected it to end on me “best of the year”-list. Instead, it was my 3rd worst movie of last year.

    • I think this is another case of having read the book beforehand really shaping my perception of the movie.
      In any case, I didn’t think that they tried to hold Eva responsible at all (if anything, in the book – which is told by Eva herself – is much more critical of her role in the entire affair, but even there it is clear that it’s Eva having self-doubts, not that anybody actually wants to blame her for the events.

      Also the born this way explanation… I took it much more differentiated than that. Yes, there was something off about him from the very beginning, but it certainly wasn’t preprogrammed that he would have ended up a killer. That’s where the nurture part comes in and that makes Eva’s self-doubts and her case so compelling. She did her best, but things went wrong. And since the nature/nuture discussion is complicated and multi-facetted, there is a chance that she could have done things differently and so it would have turned out differently. [That does not mean that I blame her. Not at all.]

      I have no problem believing the community’s hatred of her. Maybe because I can be cynical as hell, especially when it comes to mob mentalities. And in the absence of somebody else to blame (as the real perpetrator was out of reach), she was the next best thing, no matter her own circumstances.

      What I’m trying to say is that this movie definitely made it on my top list of the year.

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