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Art House

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Duration1h 52m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: 
Source of storyA novel of the same name by Lionel Shriver
DirectorLynne Ramsay
Writers/ScriptLynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear
StarringTilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.5 by 136,953 people. Rotten Tomatoes:

Elevator Pitch: We meet Eva Khatchadourian as she leaved her house to find the façade covered in red paint, as well as her car, and so she sets too cleaning it off. She goes out and it is evident that the locals are abusive towards her, setting up  through numerous flashbacks to the reasons for what is happening. The flashbacks include scenes with her husband, their son Kevin, and sometimes their daughter who has a patch over one eye. Although her husband can see nothing wrong, it is evident that Kevin appears to be evil, doing his best by any means to be difficult with his mother from a very young age, and apart from anything else creating tension between husband and wife.

Content: There is no actual nudity, but some sex evident in to gloom, apart from Eve opening the bathroom door to see Kevin masturbating. In the flashbacks we see Kevin as a baby, refusing to play ball (literally) with his mother, then filling his pants even though he should be toilet trained, which results in Eve accidentally breaking his arm. Later it is implied that Kevin has put drain cleaner in his sister’s eye, and Eve’s husband accuses her of leaving the drain cleaner out. Kevin becomes proficient with the bow and arrow. Oh dear! We can tell whether it is earlier or later in Eve’s life by the length of her hair.

A View: At least one critic has suggested that Eve is an unreliable narrator, but I have read the book and never felt other than she was telling the truth, so with the film. It was well thought of by the critics, but it was said that the script had to be rewritten to reduce the cost. This might be why I was slightly disappointed with the outcome, which should really have been explicit to shock us, rather implied. But even so it is a striking film worth your time if you like art house stuff. 

Additional Info: It is unlikely that it made any money, returning about $9 million on an estimated budget of $7 million.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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