While browsing around some movie lists I found We Need to Talk About Kevin. I had just seen The Flash and I wanted to see something else with Ezra Miller in it. So I put it on and here is my review.
I was working while this was on, editing some photos, but I found myself watching the movie more than working, it’s a powerful piece of work. I will try not to spoil, but it’s hard not to, if you know the story, you know why.
We Need to Talk About Kevin stars Tilda Swinton, John C Riley, and Ezra Miller as the main players. There are other cast members, but the movie focuses on Eva, played by Swinton and Kevin, played (mostly) by Miller. Lynne Ramsay wrote and directed the movie, with Rory Stewart Kinnear and Lionel Shriver credited as fellow writers. All three of them haven’t done much else, but boy, did they do good work here.
Eva isn’t in a good place. She lives on her own in a rundown house. We meet her leaving the house, which has had red paint thrown all over it. She is not liked. In fact, she is hated by the community. She manages to get a job, but life is hard for her.
The movie plays out of three different timelines. The main one is Eva dealing with what Kevin did. There are flashbacks to her time with her husband and the amazing life they had. Thirdly, when Kevin is growing up and the issues she has with him.
As I said, it’s hard not to talk about spoilers too much, but basically, Kevin is a troubled child. Throughout the movie, it’s hard to say if he is pure evil or just has ‘mommy issues’. There is something wrong with him though and it seems to be Eva who gets the brunt of it.
Kevin always seems happy around his father and takes most of his anger out on mom. The more he plays up, the more frustration builds up in Eva. He seems to purposely not use the toilet to make her change him. At one point, when he’s about 6 – 7, he soils his diaper. She changes him, so he soils the fresh one.
The anger that Eva has built up means she ends up throwing him across the room and breaks his arm. You totally understand where Eva is coming from, not that I’m condoning violence against minors. The battle of wills they have, which goes on for many years, would cause anyone to break.
At the end of the movie, you find out what Kevin did and why Eva is hated. It is very upsetting and it’s not an easy movie to watch.
The main star, Swinton, is amazing. She is one of those actress’ that will usually pick an interesting role and then give it her all. She carries We Need to Talk About Kevin throughout the entire movie and she does it brilliantly.
I felt that John C Riley was an odd choice for the husband. You would usually see him in a more comedic role but, when given the chance, really is a great actor.
Obviously, there are issues with Miller. The man is one wave short of a shipwreck in real life, but separating the artist from their art, he can act. Miller is only in about a third of the movie as another actor plays a younger Kevin. Miller though is excellent. He is menacing, evil, and completely untrustworthy. I hate knowing about Miller in real life because he is a good actor. It’s a shame.
We Need to Talk About Kevin is a very hard-hitting movie. In real life, some people have committed horrific atrocities leaving people to deal with the aftermath. If a person goes on a killing spree in a US school, are the parents to blame? Was that person influenced by the way they were raised or were they just evil to begin with?
It’s also interesting to see how the community copes with the entire thing. All blame is placed on Eva, but we, as an audience, see that she did what she could to raise a good boy. In fact, at the end of the movie, it shows she still has some love for him. Can a mother’s love overcome anything?
There are a lot of layers to this movie and it’s a great piece of work. It’s not for the faint of heart. If you can put Miller’s real life aside, it is worth a watch, at least once. I mean, this isn’t one of those movies you put on every Christmas with the family. As a piece of cinema, it should go on every cinephile’s list to watch at some point.
I’m giving We Need to Talk About Kevin a full 5 stars.
Check back every day for movie news and reviews at the Last Movie Outpost