Movie: We Need to Talk About Kevin
My Rating: 4 stars
This is the kind of movie that nightmares are made of. It is so bone-chilling that once you see it, you’ll never forget it. It’s the kind of material that stays with you forever, haunting your subconscious mind. The story deals with a woman (Tilda Swinton) who is raising a child who is probably a psychopath (Ezra Miller). But, the child isn’t some larger-than-life, cartoony, movie psychopath. He’s the everyday kind that pops up in the population every now and then—the kind you might not identify right away unless you’re looking closely (or unless you have him living in your home).
That’s a really rough thing to deal with as a mother. The realization that her child isn’t mentally stable creeps up on Tilda so slowly, that she almost thinks that she’s to blame. She thinks that if she had just loved him harder as a child, maybe she wouldn’t be in this position today. But, we come to realize that she was probably picking up on the subtle asocial cues the kid was throwing off. And, if you think this idea sounds like a callous thing to say about a child, then just wait until you see what a monster he is. It’s shocking. Even as a very little boy, this character is cruel, calculating, manipulative, and vindictive. And, he’s always observing. I don’t even know what it would be like to have such a poisonous creature living in my house.
This really is a horror movie. And, this really is a very interesting concept to explore—writing a child as the bad guy. People naturally feel so protective of kids that the idea of a little boy being irreparably bad is very unsettling. That’s really an irreversible bomb to drop into your life. You never know who a child will grow up to be. So, this story really concentrates every prospective parent’s primary terror: that their child won’t come out ok. Not that all the other characters are blameless. Tilda Swinton is either in denial or is so paralyzed by the implications of her son being a psychopath that she never really seeks help for him. And, the other members in her community sure think she’s to blame. I’m not really sure how treatable this condition is, but there’s got to be some sort of ongoing, psychological treatment plan.
This is a very shocking and dark movie. So, don’t watch it if you’re at all sensitive to psychological horror. But that being said, this is a very powerful film, and it’s incredibly well-made. Director Lynne Ramsay doles out little bits of information at just the right pace to keep the audience in perpetual suspense. The feeling of dread really creeps up on you. So be wary of this one. Because, like I said before, if you watch it, you’ll never be able to forget it.