It has never been so difficult to review a film the way I feel is going to happen with Lynne Ramsay’s WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN because this movie carries an important message for every parent who wants to avoid the tragic incident occurring in this film. Having said that, it’s not dangerous to be a parent who didn’t do a good job at parenting, but rather one who failed to recognise it. Remember the adage of a coin having two sides? Well, this movie tells about only one side, while you as a viewer is left to deal with the shrouded part of the story, which you must later figure out. Because there is a must bigger issue the director did not want to talk about much… And unfortunately, I can clearly see why….
Eva (Tilda Swinton) struggles to raise her new born baby boy, Kevin. He seems at his very young age that he already can’t keep quiet. However, every time when Franklin (John C. Reilly) holds his son in his hand, he for some reason does not react the same way he does with his mother. Strange or not, when Kevin reaches the age when he should have started talking, he refuses to do so. When his mother takes him to a specialist, he sees nothing suspicious and asks to give the child some time. Eventually, Kevin starts talking, however, locks himself deep in his mind where perhaps the darkest part of his mind puts a foundation for something dangerous and inexplicable to happen in the future.
As the film progresses, we see how the neighbors behave each time they meet Eva. You as a viewer still must wait till the end to justify the rudeness that comes from them. However, it’s not always a mother who is to be blamed for whatever her child does. For instance, when minor things happen at home, Franklin always supports his son by giving him a comfort zone. However, what happens when Kevin (Ezra Miller), a seemingly a brilliant teenager goes to school remains a mystery for us, until the moment when he finally reveals to his mother – “you have no idea what’s going on there”. From “there”, he meant his school where he finds it difficult to fit in.
But why Kevin felt so uncomfortable about it is something we will never find out. Does it mean he was an object of bullying? It’s hard to tell. He already grew as a different and difficult boy. But again, if we allow our imagination to go beyond our possibilities, the answer we find may not please us at all. Lynne Ramsay flawlessly directs WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, while Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller are simply outstanding. It’s disturbing and sometimes impossible to watch the film. The ending is what will leave you speechless and make you talk about it long after you’ve watched it. Again, it seems the filmmaker blames a mother for raising a monster child. But remember when I said about coins having two sides? So do not be in a hurry to judge Eva until you really analyse every single scene. And once you do that, you will never be the same afterwards.