“We Need To Talk About Kevin” has the best performance of 2011. Tilda Swinton is fearless playing a mother that takes us through a range of emotions. Sometimes we sympathize with her, other times we despise her but in the end I felt the pain she will live with the rest of her life. The fact that the Academy Awards did not recognize this performance simply confirms their uselessness.
I do not think anyone can imagine what it’s like to raise a child that treats you as a target. Here we meet Kevin, the son of Tilda Swintons’ character, Eva. We will see him at many stages of his life through flash backs. As a child he seems detached from his family and unresponsive to any human contact. As he grows older he develops almost a need to harm his younger sister.
In present time we meet Eva as she seems to be living in a run down house that is constantly being tarnished by the neighbors. She applies for a job at a local travel agency, making coffee and doing odd office jobs. In the flash backs she is an author, living in a large house with her husband and children. We sense that something awful has happened that transitioned her from an upper class life to living alone in fear and depression. We sense that it has something to do with her son Kevin.
As it turns out Kevin is responsible for murdering his father and sister as well as several of his classmates at his high school. He is sentenced to life in prison. Eva is sentenced by society to life as an outcast.
The run down house she lives in is close to the prison where Kevin resides. She visits him weekly. They sit in silence, reflecting on how they got there. They speak to each other for the first time on the second anniversary of the event in a scene that will haunt people for a long time.There are only a few words spoken but they sum up pretty much the whole film.
Find this movie if you can. It needs to be seen by more people. How it has slipped through the cracks is beyond me. Maybe people are not ready for the subject matter? Perhaps the studios don’t think we are ready seems more likely.