“A boy’s best friend is his mother” so says Norman Bates in Psycho and We need to talk about Kevin is the perfect example.
Tilda Swinton plays said mother and from day one she seems to think there is something not quite right with her first born. You have an inkling very soon in the film what the main event is but if you haven’t managed to see the trailer or read the book I won’t spoil the plot. The film’s main focus though is the relationship between Tilda and Kevin played by Ezra Miller.
We start by seeing Tilda trying to find new employment and deal with the aftermath of her son’s actions and through the use of flashbacks the story gradually unfolds before our horrified eyes. The film paints a very realistic portrayal of how challenging it must be to raise a child, how your world turns upside down and that it isn’t all sunbeams and lollipops. The film does raise the issue of nature versus nurture but to me it’s nature that has lead to Kevin’s shortcomings and in spite of this his Mum still loves him.
Tilda Swinton is amazing at playing a women for all seasons; lover , wife, mother and survivor. With more and more coming out about The Help it will seem unlikely that she’ll get the best actress award but an nomination must be a guarantee. Ezra Millar is superb at playing the child and teenager we all dread of having and no doubt will earn himself a place in villain history. I’d happily give the film five stars although I do feel it falls down in its quite sexist portrayal of the father Franklin played by John C Reilly. We are given a bumbling head in the clouds father whose son can do no wrong and as far as he’s concerned all Tilda’s misgivings are just in her head. With such glaring faults with Kevin it seems hard to believe he wouldn’t give more credence to his wife’s concerns.
This aside the film is a perfect addition to the canon of problem child movies and with Lynne Ramsay’s beautiful direction, striking imagery and pacing it is one that will stick in viewers minds for years to come.
Lynne Ramsay / Lynne Ramsay, Rory Kinnear / Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller / 112 min / Drama / Release: 21 October (US/Canada), 27 January 2014 (UK/IRL)