Advantages Excellent acting, interesting plot and progression
Disadvantages Absolutely nothing
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|Characters / Performances|
I bought this book from Waterstones a few years ago and began reading maybe a page into it. I'm not quite sure why, probably because of other commitments, I stopped reading temporarily and when a friend of mine asked to borrow it, I lent it to her, and after that I have no idea what I ever did to it. Its never shown up anywhere in my house and I don't imagine my Mum would throw away a book, but it is what it is, almost so interesting that a Poirot episode could be made out of it (I kid, I kid). Anyway, I always prefer to read the book before the film, as I am much more of a book person anyway, and I prefer to make my own judgements and see how the film percieves the book, but this time sadly I couldn't. I ummed and ahhed whether or not I should re-buy the book, read it, and then watch the film but curiosity won and I ended up sitting down to watch.
The film has the capability to be a pretentious, airy disarray with a little too many issues thrown in and attempted to deal with in one sitting. Yet it is not. I could also have portrayed Eva (Tilda Swinton) as a cold, unsympathising mother who is somehow abnormal for struggling to love her own son. Yet, again, it does not. Instead with this film you get a thought-provoking, hard hitting drama that on occasion really made me sit and think about numerous things. Is that not what we want from our drama genre flms, and in We Need to Talk About Kevin, that is all we get.
Eva (Swinton) is a mother of a difficult 'problem' child who through no lack of trying she cannot seem to relate to. Her husband Franklin (Reilly) is unhelpful and tends to add more guilt to this already struggling mother's worries, as he suggests she should try harder, or that their son Kevin is just a 'normal little boy'. He however, is not at home to see the sign Kevin shows for a number of different mental abnormalities, such as his incontinence up to nearly as old as 8, his spitefulness, emotional blackmailing schemes, and his lack of any signs of pain when Eva accidentally causes him to break his arm. Kevin is a very disturbed little boy, and Eva alone is left to endure this.
The film is very interesting in that it shows Eva's acceptance of what Kevin did and attempts to move on in her life. The townspeople are unforgiving, using her as a catalyst of their own anger and devastation at the school massacre Kevin enforced. This is so intense that she must hide from mothers of children who were involved, and is even slapped in broad daylight in the street. This was perhaps the first question the film made me consider, and it was one that I struggled to answer. Eva's son decided to act out something awful and is in prison for it, yet she is the one who is punished. It is telling that our society would do this, and this is not merely the work of Hollywood, as it is not really that extraordinary to think this kind of thing would happen. It is not only telling however, but a little heart-breaking for me too.
Eva attempts to build a relationship with her son Kevin frequently and shows signs of jealousy at the ease with which Franklin is able to connect with him. There are few instances where they appear to be friendly with one another, but the Kevin proceeds to neglect his father and treat him in the way he usually does to his mother. This is always short-lived however, as their relationship is never really established, and you could never truly say they had any kind of connection.
Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian
John C. Reilly as Franklin Plaskett
Ezra Miller as Kevin Khatchadourian
Jasper Newell as six-eight-year-old Kevin
Rocky Duer as infant Kevin
Ashley Gerasimovich as Celia Khatchadourian
Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Wanda
Alex Manette as Colin
I have watched many films over the years but this is perhaps the only one to make me think quite so much. The journey Eva explores, and the bizarre but also kind of comforting way in which she departs from Kevin after visiting him in prison for the last time is also very interesting. Despite being made to grow a kind of hatred for Kevin, how he treats his mother, and of course what he did, I did find myself sympathising with him a little as it appeared he didn't even know himself. He admits that he has never been happy, and this is a unique way to consider the mind of such a disturbed individual. The film is sporadic in nature, perhaps to mirror the way in which Tilda is forced to live her life, never knowing how people will approach her, whether they are willing to move on, or to blame her. It was perhaps this method that was most interesting as it meant I was constantly hoping the next moment would explain WHY Kevin did it, yet that answer never comes. However, that does not mean the film is lacking. Instead, the film is just a little too realistic if anything.
This is definitely a film I would recommend. Despite knowing from the beginning the conclusion of Kevin's acting, there is still an interesting progression and my interest never waned. It would've been too easy to make this more commercially friendly, but they stuck with the concept, and in my opinion produced a genuinely excellent film.
Summary: A really great film
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