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we-need-to-talk-about-kevinWhile Kevin may be the titular star of “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” after seeing the movie the person everyone is talking about Tilda Swinton, who hands in an unforgettable performance as New York suburbanite, mother of a monster and social pariah.

Swinton plays Eva Khatchadourian, travel agent, wife of Franklin (John C. Reilly) and mother of Kevin (played as a child by Rock Duer and Jasper Newell, as a teen by Ezra Miller). Kevin is a constant thorn in her side, from his colicky childhood to his troubled teens, she is at odds with her own son, convinced he is trouble. As her worst nightmares slowly come true the film studies, simultaneously by jumping back-and-forth in time, the build up and aftermath of Kevin’s violent behavior.

Based on a bestseller by Lionel Shriver, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is a hauntingly stylized look at a deeply troubled relationship. Using a fractured timeline director Lynne Ramsey allows the viewer to decide whether Eva’s interaction with her son turned him into a beast or whether she gave birth to bad seed. It’s a fascinating character study that asks more questions than it answers, but is given real depth by the performances.

Miller is chilling in the role, the personification of troubled teen, but it is Swinton who steals the show. When she utters the line, ““I’m going straight to hell. Eternal damnation, the whole thing,” it would be funny it wasn’t so ripe with self-hate and pain.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” is made for adventurous viewers; those who can stand watching real ennui played out on screen.

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