Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Tilda Swinton and Jasper Newell
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011). Director: Lynne Ramsay.

"When I see fat people they're always eating. Don't give me this hormones and glands business." 

Eva (Tilda Swinton) is dealing with a lot in her life, much of which we don't even realize until the end of the movie. One thing we do know is that her son, Kevin (Ezra Miller) has done something terrible, which has made many members of Eva's community, some of whom lost loved ones, despise her. Kevin jumps back and forth in time [sort of pushing the viewer out of the story instead of pulling him in], but the young Kevin, although difficult at times, seems no more and no less childish and annoying than many children can be at times. Eva, who can't seem to see the humor in Kevin's behavior, loses control and breaks the child's arm [although no one but her son is aware of this act of decided child abuse]. As a teen Kevin is incredibly obnoxious, and seems to (understandably?) hate his mother. In present day segments Eva gets a job and deals with loneliness and the cruelty of some of the people around her, and endures depressing visits to see Kevin in an institution. Some of the details of what Kevin actually did to his family and others are finally unveiled at the ending. Ms. Swinton gives a good performance, but the actress is so androgynous, even boyish, that during the film's opening moments you might think that she is playing Kevin. Rocky Duer, Jasper Newell, and the aforementioned Miller are all excellent as Kevin at varying ages. The biggest problem with the movie is the non-linear directorial approach, which does little to help us understand Eva or her situation. The soundtrack consists of various songs which often relate to what's going on but can be nonetheless distracting.

Verdict: An interesting but ultimately unsatisfying look at a tragedy of modern times. **1/2.

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