We Need To Talk About Kevin: ****

Running time: 112 mins Certificate: 15

Synopsis: Eva (Swinton), the mother of a teenager (Miller) struggles to cope with the aftermath of his devastating actions. The story reflects on the boy’s childhood and the breakdown of her relationship with both him and her husband (Reilly).


Don’t expect any laughs as this drama about the relationship between a mother and her disruptive son is extremely serious and is very hard to watch with the film’s slow moving pace. But audiences will be rewarded with a powerful experience from a great director like Lynne Ramsey.


Tilda Swinton showed a very convincing performance in Eva, with her lack of feelings towards her son. The character also appears self-centred as she curses her son for making her unhappy, blames her husband for moving them to another house and becomes pregnant again and  does not tell her husband. Eva does love her husband and her daughter, but her main concern always seemed to be herself.


The character of Kevin is well played by Ezra Miller and will actually make your skin crawl at times. Particularly the scene in which his sister has just lost an eye and he eats lychees in a rather creepy manner. There is no doubt that from an early age, the boy does have a lot of malice in him. The scene where he deliberately sabotages his mother’s maps shows he wants to hurt her, and the fact that he is “nice as pie” to his father shows he is a very two-faced individual.


The events of the film will lead the audience to question whether Kevin was born bad or did his mother’s behaviour send him in that direction? It is true that from early on Eva seems to have bad feelings about Kevin, but by resisting toilet training, vandalising his mother’s stuff and generally being unpleasant he makes the viewer see both sides of the story. Was the bad feeling she had a premonition or a self fulfilling prophecy? Did she, as a mother, have natural instincts something was wrong (what I would call maternal intuition) or did she subconsciously make her son behave that way by believing there was something wrong and giving off certain vibes?


Heavy and thought provoking, the film is very well made.  But at times it is hard to follow as it jumped between times regularly but the story is very deep and moving.


Reviewed by Lesley Watt

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