Tuesday, 15 May 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin - Movie Review

Looking for a real life thriller that'll have you thinking and discussing it for days on end?


Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious 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.

Who's In It

Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

What I Thought

We Need To Talk About Kevin is adapted from the book of the same name by Lionel Shriver, and follows roughly the same plot. It differs in the sense that the movie is a series of sequences at various times strung together to deliver the story, whereas the book was told in a series of letters from Eva, played by Tilda Swinton, to her husband.

Now I've not read the book, but it's this adaption, from book to cinema, and the sequences that will initially have you trying to follow a very disjointed timeline and story. The first half an hour or so jumps around so much that you really have to concentrate on what's going on to follow the film. It does thankfully stop jumping around as much after that, but it continues to move between different time periods in Eva and Kevin's lives.

Hopefully I'm not spoiling anything here but it's fairly common knowledge that this film is all about a high school massacre involving Kevin as the perpetrator, as the synopsis above alludes to. As well as being disjointed, this is also a disturbing movie. In one scene, Eva walks in on Kevin "beating off" and he just looks at her and continues tugging even harder. It's clear from the start that Eva was never really keen on having Kevin, and she enjoyed her life of travelling and writing. This is most obvious during his upbringing in the way she behaves with him, and hence, he with her. It begs the question, is it nature or nurture? Was he just evil or did she turn him into what he became?

I'm starting to get more into these types of movies, where the characters are not these saccharine sweet individuals that everyone likes and can relate to. It's nice to see the other side of the coin with these darker personalities, as was also seen in Young Adult. These are not nice people, but they are real.

Symbolic scenes of sangre
One thing I did pick up on a the film progressed, was the consistent use of red in nearly every single scene of the movie. I'd say that it's used in about 98% of the film in some shape or form, be it the red paint that the townsfolk through over her house, the ball that Eva tries to play with Kevin, clothing, jam on a sandwich, or light in the background, it's there right from the beginning to the end. It's obviously symbolic of the blood that is spilled at the school later in the movie, but it's so powerful throughout.

Tilda Swinton was great as Kevin's mother, she really is spectacular in these sorts of roles. She does an excellent job while looking completely dowdy and run down, without an make-up. John C. Reilly is pretty forgettable as the doting father who thinks his son can do not wrong - how wrong he is. The three kids who play Kevin during his upbringing were all good, especially the middle kid played by Jasper Newell. Ezra Miller is excellent as the strange looking, and equally weird, teenage Kevin.

Memorable Quotes

  • "You know, you can be kind of harsh sometimes."
    "You're one to talk."
  • "You don't look happy."
    "Have I ever?"
  • "I used to think I knew. Now I'm not so sure."


We Need To Talk About Kevin is a disjointed, disturbing, realistic thriller that will have you thinking and talking about it for days to come



  1. This movie was eerie man Super freaking eerie, and I loved it. great post

  2. This film is so disturbing, chilling, and at times, very hard to watch but it’s terribly tense with a near-perfect performance from Swinton, who I usually don’t like but here she’s absolutely amazing and definitely deserved that Oscar nomination. Great review Steve.

    1. Thanks Dan. Agreed, Swinton is great in this, maybe her best yet?

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