05 June 2012

Movies: We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1242460/

Drama Thriller

Eva and Franklin meet and fall in love. Eva writes a very successful travel book. They start a family, but it is apparent Eva suffers postpartum depression. Over the years she struggles to connect with Kevin, their first-born. The harder she tries, the harder the kid seems to push back.

The story is told in a series of flashbacks. One has to sort things out to uncover what is the 'current' event timeline and piece together all the events that lead up to now. It might seem daunting at first but can be followed. And seeing how the story plays out the flashback method of storytelling seems to suit this film best. It gives you the best chance to contrast the effects of the burdens of life on the characters over time.

A giant pay-off for watching this film is the performances. Stars Tilda Swinton as Eva, John C. Reilly as Franklin, and a few different kids as Kevin as he grows up.  Reilly plays his part very capably, he has this sort of role down. Swinton, awesome as ever. She does an incredible job of going from a vibrant life-loving carefree spirit to a dessicated husk of a human being and making us feel every moment along the way. But another hats-off goes to the kids playing Kevin, notably the continuity of the Kevin performances across his ages.

The story is good and disturbing and terrible and sad all at the same time. It is a successful roller coaster ride on so many levels. Probably too heavy a film to watch if you're in a "generic entertainment film" mood, this one requires a bit more thinking and paying attention.  A good film for the folks who like to feel unsettled by what they watch, especially for those more unsettled by what people are capable of being and doing, as opposed to the more escapist-type gore fantasy horror fare.  I'm not saying this is a horror film, although it could be argued that it is and I wouldn't disagree. I'm more saying it's not what people generally consider to be a horror film.

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