In Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

By Bianca Newman

Maybe this should be titled: we need to talk about mothers. This is perhaps the most heartbreaking film of the year, focusing on the most delicate of the relationships, that between a mother and her son.

It is also about broken relationships. When a mother feels like her son doesn’t belong in her life, she feels she has ruined her own life, but he feels that too. Kevin feels that too. You also feel that he doesn’t care one bit. In a powerful film, Tilda Swinton brings a stunning performance – full of pure emotion.

The plot alternates between two different times of Eva’s (Tilda Swinton) life: before and after, in a very saddening and dark way. She was once a young hipster enjoying her life until a much unexpected event changed everything and made her joy for life go to waste. Being pregnant by accident clearly doesn’t seem to be the way she imagined her youth. She suffers from depression, like many new mothers do, imagining that it affects her child as well. Kevin (older Kevin played by Ezra Miller) responds to her guilt by making a target out of his mother. The natural hatred that flows through Kevin is unbelievable and does nothing but make the viewer feel sorry for Eva.

The acclaimed director, Lynne Ramsay, adds an impressive touch to her film by managing to make it very natural, organic almost using red tints and a heart-beat like rhythm of film evolution.

The soundtrack is just as much as a part of the natural feeling because most of the songs don’t seem to click with the situation: achieving the awkward sentiment as though you had a bad day and the radio carries on regardless, playing the same tracks. Speaking about the sound, Ramsay makes an incredible use of the sound by leaving appropriate silent scenes to speak for themselves. This is especially when Eva shares a scene with her son – she is at a loss for words because she knows that no matter what she says, he will never show a single sign of sympathy for his mother. Beautiful tableau-shots of Eva in solitude grace the screen marking the exact moments when she feels the worst. Look out for the magical close-ups Ramsay did with hidden meanings: the water, the red paint, the rain drops – they all symbolize the aching heart of Eva.

We Need to Talk about Kevin is a spectacular film. Based on the 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver, it reaches a delicate subject, a fragile relationship about family, blame, hatred and most of all silent pain. It is the kind of film that will have you give your life a second thought and feel an immense gratefulness.

Bianca has awarded We Need to Talk About Kevin four Torches of Truth

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