WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN-United Kingdom/United States-2011

Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian

John C. Reilly as Franklin

Ezra Miller as Kevin

Directed by Lynne Ramsay

Screenplay by Lynne Ramsay and Rory Kinnear

Based on the novel by Lionel Shriver

I’m wiped out. At this moment in time I am running on complete auto-pilot. I just watched “We Need to Talk about Kevin”. As the film progressed I felt myself growing more and more depressed. I asked myself questions throughout the film. Are some people born angry and mean? Is there any way to turn them around before it’s too late? I thought of the Columbine school shootings and wonder what personal hell Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold‘s families must be going through. “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is also about a school shooting; it’s also about the life of the perpetrator from infant to 16 years old, the age at which he commits the crime. As a baby his crying is so loud and so constant that his mother Eva (Tilda Swinton-“Michael Clayton“) stands and listens to the sounds of jackhammers to drown out his screams. As time goes by and Kevin grows older his anger never wavers and it is all she can do to keep her sanity and give him the love she so desperately wants to give him. At every turn he cuts her off with cruel words and even crueler actions that point to an even bigger problem down the line. Another question I found myself asking was doesn’t it take two parents to raise and discipline a child? Kevin’s father Franklin (John C. Reilly-“Carnage”) is blissfully ignorant of his son’s anger and continually ignores his wife’s pleas by telling her that Kevin is ‘just a boy’ and ‘that’s what boys do’.

Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly are both excellent in their roles as Kevin’s mother and father. Swinton carries the weight of her role on her shoulders and her sadness and desperation is evident in each and every scene. Reilly is just as good and although his role is smaller it’s no less demanding of his talents. However, the films standout performance comes from Ezra Miller as Kevin. Here is the type of role that can make or break an actor and Miller gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. Miller digs deep into the role. The last time I saw a performance this intense was from Charlize Theron in “Monster.”

The film plays out the before and after of Kevin’s crime at the same time so that we can judge for ourselves who is to blame for his actions. In the aftermath segments there are scenes where the parents of the children that Kevin murdered greet Eva with anger and cruelty. Does she deserve their hatred? That’s not for me to decide. All I will say is that some people are born into this world with anger and meanness in their hearts and there’s not a fucking thing you can do for them. “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is a shocking and depressing film about just such a person. Hmm, it makes it better when you talk about it.


Shown with Assessment on its original UK release in selected cinemas.

The movie’s release in Norway was postponed following the terrorist attacks on July 22. Originally set to be released in autumn of 2011, the film entered the screens in the spring of 2012.

The initial scenes from La Tomatina, the tomato festival in Buñol near Valencia in Spain, is referenced later by a poster advertising for Buñol in the travel agency on the wall behind Eva.



  1. I loved your review on We Need to Talk to Kevin. I haven’t watched the movie yet, I just ordered it in Blu-ray on Blockbuster @Home. I should be getting it in the mail though. A few co-workers of mine at Dish told me this movie is strange but a must-see. After reading reviews, I can’t wait to watch it.

  2. A disturbing film, to say the least, that will make you glad you don’t have children. Many wonder if he shows some flicker of remorse at the end…instead, he’s evil and he was born that way, incapable of remorse.

  3. This is one movie that I don’t think I should see, it hits just a little close to home. My youngest son is the angriest person I have ever met, he gave me a fat lip at 18mo old out of anger, doubled up his fist and punched me in the mouth. I can’t tell you the horrors I went through with him. Now he is a drug addicted alcoholic doing his damage elsewhere. I could find no help for him when young and as he got older he rejected any help.
    He went to the same highschool as Kip Kinkle, when the shootings happened at their school I thought it was my son, even left work. It wasn’t him, but he thought it was cool and was sad that it wasn’t him.
    Great review, under normal circumstances I would want to see it after reading this. ❤

    • Jan, just hearing from you and knowing that you read my writing and liked it is enough for me. I know that different movies hit people in different ways. I’m sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve had with your son. I wish you nothing but the best.

  4. This was a tough film to watch! I was unsure where the film was going after the first half an hour or so, but once it became clear I was blown away by the whole thing. Great review.

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