We Need to Talk About Kevin review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Based on the novel by Lionel Shriver Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk about Kevin is the painful and moving story of parents Eva (Tilda Swinton) and Franklin (John C. Reilly) whose son goes on a high school killing spree and their confused feelings of grief and guilt.
In many ways the movie seems far from the original American story in which Eva, a wife and mother, writes letters to her husband as the plot jumps back and forth in time. The movie continues to use the disjointed linear time frame, but does so in a very different yet equally effectively manner; manipulating the timeline has a very potent impact upon on the emotional structure of the movie: the linear manipulation helps to convey the pain and confusion felt by Kevin’s mourning parents.
Obviously this is not an easy film, with a rather risky subject and very complex emotions, yet the cast, particularly Swinton, really bring it to life with a genuine sense of humanity, pain and helplessness.
The first hour of the movie is daring and heartfelt, whilst the second half settles down somewhat, making the shifting emotions far easier to digest as an outsider. It remains a difficult film throughout however and is as such not a film one would describe as ‘enjoyable’. It is interesting and moving and even enlightening, yet the audience’s sense of relief when the credit’s finally role is palpable.
All in all, a very impressive movie that moves with an almost daring slowness and precision, very much worth seeing but certainly not for the faint hearted.