Updated: May 20, 2022
Someone posted a question the other day; what is a great movie that you would never watch again? Well, for me, this is it. I braved a second watch through, and was surprised at how different it appeared the second time around. Things I didn't see the first time became clearer. All the signs were there where they hadn't been before... Maybe you should watch it twice - if you can stomach it, but I warn you, watching it as a parent is deeply unsettling. It's deviating slightly from my usual horror vibe, but dependent on how you look at it, this is horror. And let's face it, we really don't talk about Kevin enough anymore...
We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) is a slow burn, so brace yourself. It starts where it should - at the beginning - showing how Kevin's mother (Tilda Swinton) and father (John C. Reilly) meet in a drunken, seedy one night stand where Kevin (Jasper Newell/Ezra Miller) is conceived. From here we start to see various parts in the timeline of their tumultuous lives, slowly fitting the pieces together until the final, horrifying outcome.
It's a bitter battle between mother and son throughout, with the classic, mostly-absent father figure who can't see what happens when he's not present. It hits particularly hard with the lack of support a mother faces when dealing with a 'troubled' child, from both her husband, and medical practitioners. The "he'll grow out of it" mentality that is ultimately more damaging than you could imagine.
The cast are exceptional, but Ezra Miller's portrayal of 'older' Kevin is deeply disturbing and highly believable as he switches from hateful toward his mother, to doting son with his father.
It's confusing at first - are the parents both to blame? Is it just one parent? Is Kevin simply a really messed up kid because of what he reads, and his questionable 'hobbies'? Well, you'll have to watch it yourself to decide, because ultimately, it's a movie that proves no matter what, a mother will love her child, even when her child is the devil himself.
It really brings the "nature or nuture" debate to the forefront, and encourages us to think differently about parents of 'bad' kids, and perhaps even to recognise the signs that we might all usually ignore; because as extreme as this movie is, it should ultimately teach us that ignoring struggling parents, or odd behaviour in children can be extremely dangerous for everyone, not just the family involved. It's the elephant in the room; the horror we try to forget; the uncomfortable truth that we don't speak about. But, the reality is, we need to talk about Kevin.
My movie reviews aren't like other reviews - I won't bore you with long, drawn out explainations, reveal big spoilers, dazzle you with long words, or try to analyse the movie for you. I won't tell you if you should watch it, or if you shouldn't - all movies are made to be watched, bad or good. I'll simply tell you what I think of it. What you choose to do with that information is up to you.... But don't say I didn't warn you 😉