we need to talk about kevin | movie review

Posted on December 23, 2011


Now my good lady wife has read We need to talk about Kevin, and thought it was a truly incredible book, highly recommending it to me. However with the release of the movie i saw no need [!], so myself and my better half settled down to drink in its power and tone and horror.

Oh dear…
Have to ever played a game in the car with little kids the aim of which is to choose a colour car and then see how many cars of that colour you can spot. The winner obviously being the one with the most? Well while watching WNTTAK, you can play this with the colour red! It appears that the director has tried to shoehorn in as much of it as she could – and I’m sure it’s all very symbolic – tomatoes, red paint, red toys, red kettle, aisles of red tins in the supermarket, etc, etc. It’s all just too obvious! Eva’s constantly washing the juice and paint off her hands… hmmm… wonder what that symbolises?

It’s waaaay too arty – so much so that the visual overload is hugely damaging to the film.
A story like this needs you to believe in the people, you need to be able to attach yourself to the surroundings, you need to believe the conversations they are having and be able to have empathy with them… with someone. There is none of that.

Eva’s actions are that of a mother with very little patience and all you can think is “get a grip woman!”. Kevin, who is supposed to be autistic or have some other detachment issues comes across just as a really badly behaved little oik! There’s a laughable scene with a doctor which I’m not sure that the director did any research for. So with Mum being so wet and useless, Kevin so badly behaved, that just leaves Dad. Well John C Reilly doesn’t fare any better as the Dad who fails to see anything wrong with the family. C’mon!!!

There are odd moments of great filmmaking, such as when Eva’s attempts to get a job and a certain frank conversation between her and Kevin over a meal. It’s just that they are too few.

Tilda Swinton does what she can with Eva and John C. Reilly is at a bit of a loose end with his character. Ezra Miller as the older Kevin has a great presence, but isn’t given a chance to develop – he’s bad… the end.

So if you love your films to be over the top arty and not too fussed about connecting with it, you’d probably lap it up.
Whereas if you like to be emotionally attached to these kind of family dramas, then I advise you to jog on.
A movie called Zero Day handles this subject matter far more effectively.

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