We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Dir. Lynne Ramsay
R / 1h 52m / Drama
– What if I don’t like it?
– Then you get used to it.
– Just because you’re used to something doesn’t mean you like it. You’re used to me.
I started an Instagram page to coincide with this blog and to have a place to put films that I watch that I don’t write full reviews on, and it’s been extremely successful. (Follow me here, if you want!!) I’ve started meeting a ton of other film reviewers, I even got my first request from a stranger! But this review comes at the hands of a question I received from a new friend, Flixwatcher. They review Netflix films, and inquired about my current favorite for review consideration. I did have to think about it for a few hours, but I am positive We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) is it.
Eva (Swinton) is a successful travel writer that has to give it all up when she meets, falls in love, and has a baby with Franklin (Reilly). That child is Kevin (Miller), and Eva struggles with motherhood even up until he commits an unthinkable act, of which she sinks into herself, blaming herself, recounting all of the telltale signs that proved her actions produced a freakin psycho.
It is incredibly rare in film to have a plot center around a woman that has trouble accepting and growing into motherhood. Motherhood is often portrayed as an ultimate goal, a positive and skyrocketing personal growth experience, magical, powerful, even a measure of sainthood, if you will. It’s very jarring, and even unnerving at times to witness Eva’s behavior toward her child, the source of her unhappiness. I am not a mother, so my level of understanding is elementary, but in the silence of this film and the heightened beating of your heart, you understand her.
We see Kevin grow from a tiny baby into almost an adult with a mother that has made her disgust known. The watcher is torn between sympathy and horror as we understand that Kevin has missed out on some serious parental nurturing and holds a mean grudge, making Eva almost eat her own words. There is a ton of dialogue in this film, but also a healthy amount of body language to pay attention to. There are scenes where there are no words, only eye contact, that speak volumes.
The story progression is non linear, which keeps the watcher more involved than if it weren’t so. It makes you pay attention. It makes you see how these characters grow. It makes you piece the story together yourself, make assumptions, believe what is and what isn’t – and I adore that. I love film that will make you work for clear understanding. The cinematography is spot on, there are beautiful angles and portrait shots and scenes that delve you right into it. There is almost sickeningly perfect color placement and symbolism that does not easily make itself understood. The entire 2 hours is an experience that leaves you exhilarated in the eyes and empty in the heart.
That’s my favorite kind of film, yall.
Rarely are we given a story about family, about childhood, where every character is worse off than where they began. It’s something to be appreciated. It’s something to be felt. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a beautiful, interesting portrayal of a failed family and the culprit of another little hole in your heart.