We Need to Talk about “We Need to Talk about Kevin”
As a married lady of childbearing age, I’ve seen kids on the horizon for a while now. But after watching We Need to Talk About Kevin, I may be putting those plans on hold for a while longer. By turns fascinating, mysterious, thrilling and haunting, We Need to Talk About Kevin may just be the best form of cinematic birth control out there.
The movie, a festival favorite that opens today in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and the Regal Arbor, is based on the award-winning novel by Lionel Shriver, directed by Lynne Ramsay and stars Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly and newcomer Ezra Miller. The story follows Eva (Tilda Swinton) throughout, vascilating between the present and flashbacks to different points in her marriage to Franklin (Reilly) and the rearing of their son, Kevin, who is played by Miller as a teenager and by several younger child actors early on. From the beginning, Eva senses that Kevin is different, and the mother-son bond never forms. Franklin thinks it is all in her head, but as the film unfolds, we see that Eva’s unease was definitely founded, and she finds herself facing situations we could never imagine while also trying to find answers within herself to questions of parental responsibility and love.
Ezra Miller, as well as the younger actors playing Kevin at various points in childhood, gets under your skin and makes you uncomfortable throughout, giving Kevin a chilling air of unpredictability and menace. But this movie absolutely belongs to Tilda Swinton, who gives the best performance by an actress I’ve seen all year, and I am utterly stunned that she did not receive an Oscar nomination. If I had an Oscar ballot, she would be taking home the prize. She has won many awards so far for her haunted, stricken portrayal of Eva, including being voted Best Actress by the Austin Film Critics Society.
We Need to Talk About Kevin isn’t an easy film to watch, but because it forces you to face the unthinkable, it will stick with you long after its 119 minutes.