A mother tries to cope with an increasingly disruptive and violent son, struggling to love him and to deal with him.
Tilda Swinton, who plays the lead role in this film, is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. I find that even in movies I hate *cough cough* Snowpiercer *cough cough* I love the character she plays. In this film she gives a performance as Eva, a tired mother, that can only be described as harrowing. We see her struggle with a child that appears to be hellbent on doing nothing but causing her pain. Such is her acting that you feel as if you are in her shoes with her, wondering why this child is so vindictive and apparently evil. You come to hate this child as much as she rather clearly does.
Though this begs the question, is Kevin truly evil, spoiled from the outset. Or is perhaps Kevin picking up on the fact that his mother hates him. By the end of this movie I can’t say for sure one way or the other. For the first 90% of the movie I was sure that Kevin was in fact just born evil. The last scene however caused me to look back at the rest of movie and now I find myself questioning my initial outlook.
Nearly all of the movie is told through memories of Eva. Remembering the birth of Kevin, raising him, potty training him and trying to play with him, all the way up until he is a teenager. Through the lens of her memory we see him as the bad seed she saw him as. In the final scene however, the only scene with Kevin where he is not within a memory, we see an almost entirely different person. Gone is the constantly snide, constantly condescending child you have come to hate throughout the film. In his place is a scared kid happy to have his mother their to comfort him.
It was this scene that caused me to look back and realize that even in the very first scene with Kevin, chronologically speaking, Eva is distant. She looks shocked, staring into the middle distance as her husband cradles their new son lovingly. There are other small hints throughout the film that lead me to believe that my initial impression of Kevin may in fact have been wrong. It is certainly something that I will need to think about more, and I wouldn’t mind another viewing either.
While enjoy is perhaps not the word I would use to describe my experience with “We Need to Talk About Kevin” I can certainly say I would love to see it again after I have had some more time to think about it. 9/10
Available on Netflix Instant streaming