WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, 2012
Stars: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Siobhan Fallon, Ursula Parker, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich, Lauren Fox, Erin Maya Darke
The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief - and feelings of responsibility for her child's actions.
From whence do monsters come? It’s a question which comes up perpetually whenever something horrible happens. The reality is we don’t really have a good answer, and we may not ever. The scary part is we don’t really know and we may not ever; no matter what we do each person is an island. That’s hard to dramatize though so it’s a lot easier to blame the parents. Which is probably both too easy and too close to the truth to fully encompass the human experience.
Writer-director Lynne Ramsey is going to give it her level best in her adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s "We Need to Talk About Kevin."
On the outside, and to those he chooses to show it to, Kevin (Jasper Newell as a child, Ezra Miller as a teenager) is a normal everyday child who just happens to be preparing to murder several students at his school. To his mother, and gradually the rest of his family, Kevin is a burgeoning sociopath who is preparing to murder several students at his school.
Bouncing back and forth in time between Kevin’s childhood and the aftermath of his killing spree, the film’s real focus is on mother Eva (Tilda Swinton), investigating how much she may to blame for why he is the way he is.
"We Have To Talk About Kevin" is a minimalist tour de force for Ramsey and for Swinton. A successful travel writer with the world at her feet, Eva gives in reluctantly to her husband’s wish for a child and a suburban home. This is not her last mistake but it is likely to be the one she looks back on the most through the rest of her life as it takes her quite a while to adjust to her new life and to stop blaming her son for changing it.
A harrowing portrayal of guilt and survival, Ramsey’s film refuses to take any easy ways out, gradually building Kevin’s anti-social tendencies, from his refusal to be potty trained to his destruction of his mother’s personal space, she creates a complicated portrayal of this killer narcissist and through him of his mother, the one person he won’t leave be. Living in a constant battle for his other’s attention and simultaneously loathing it, "Kevin" asks who is to blame for him and if anything could have been done about him.
The problems become even more acute when Eva and husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) decide to have another child, a daughter (Ashley Gerasimovich) who is as normal as Kevin is abnormal. Even then, wrapped up in her own issues, Eva waits and waits and waits, trying to avoid her confrontation and finally coming up with something she is definitely guilty of.
One of the most disturbing experiences of the year, "We Have to Talk About Kevin" boasts several of the best performances of the year and a masterful piece of storytelling. It’s not entertaining in any way; it certainly won’t provide thrills of the sort those who go for films about killers. It’s about something far more devastating and terrifying – people.