The concept of nature versus nurture has always fascinated me. That interest was only raised when I had children of my own. It’s strange how similar my father, myself, and my son are. You might even call it creepy. My daughter has a good blend of myself and her mother, thank god for that! The way you raise a child certainly plays a part in their behaviour, but it’s hard to ignore what they just seem to inherit. That makes it even more difficult to understand where the character of Kevin (Ezra Miller) has gotten his streak of malicious evil.
Never have I wanted a character in a film to suffer more than Kevin, while I only wished things could be different for his mother, Eva (Tilda Swinton). What role did Eva play in her son’s sadistic behaviour though? Should we feel bad for Eva or Kevin?
The film takes those questions and puts them in front of anything else without ever trying to offer an opinion. It’s a great way to go about the story, showing us Kevin as he grows up and Eva’s attitude towards her pregnancy and her new son, without forcing a side on the viewer. She’s not a bad mother, but she isn’t a very good one either, and the film features many moments I could connect with as a parent myself. Kevin seems to have it out for his mother right from the start, constantly looking at her with disgust in his eyes. Two other actors besides Ezra Miller portray Kevin at various stages in his life, Rock Duer as a toddler, and Jasper Newell between the ages of six and eight. Each actor is incredible in the role, delivering a frightening performance that makes me glad they aren’t my children. Their performances may keep me up at night.
Earlier this year, I watched a film called My Name Is Faith. It was a documentary about a young girl suffering from Attachment Disorder. This causes children to be very violent because they did not bond with their mother as an infant. Having previously seen that film offered another point of view for We Need To Talk About Kevin. Eva has trouble bonding with Kevin, which could easily be a cause for his problems. The fact that Kevin seems so disturbed also makes it hard to follow that line of thinking. Could the postpartum depression that Eva seems to suffer from really be causing Kevin to be so unstable? It’s an important question for the film, but one that must ultimately be solved by the viewer. The film is more concerned with Eva and her relationship with Kevin and what he has done.
If you haven’t read the novel that the film is based on, I’d hate to reveal too much. Things are pretty obvious almost right from the start, but there are a few twists that you may not expect. Even without revealing too much, it’s hard to find a way to talk about this film. What a viewer takes away from the movie will depend a lot on what they bring into it. Depending on whether you think Kevin was born that way, raised that way, or a little of both, will affect your opinions on the characters and the way that you connect with them. It makes for a fascinating viewing experience and some intense debate after the film has finished.
From start to finish, We Need To Talk About Kevin is an amazing film. The performances are of the highest caliber, the tension is almost unbearable, and the film does a great job at showing what a parent will endure for their child. It’s frightening in its realism and very depressing. This is not a Sunday afternoon film. Be prepared for a very heavy assault on the senses and you’ll find one of the most incredible dramatic films of the last few years.
Under the marquee – Will