A relationship between a carefree new mother Eva (Tilda Swinton) and her son Kevin (Rocky Duer, Jasper Newell and Ezra Miller) is the focus of this Lynne Ramsey-directed film in which the title describes the goal that is never quite achieved.
From the beginning, the bond between mother and son is never quite made even though Kevin gets along fine with his father Franklin (John C. Reilly). There are periods in which Kevin clearly expresses distain toward his mother while admiration toward his father in the same conversation in which all are present yet Franklin passes it off as a phase.
The film is presented in two different times both of which focus on Eva. The present day in which she is clearly alone and trying to pick up her life again and the past in which she is raising Kevin. What we see through Kevin’s actions are of slight unpredictability but always through the eyes of Eva. There’s always that ounce of doubt and that maybe what we are seeing is a tarnished point of view from a woman who hasn’t quite got a full grasp upon motherhood. Kevin’s actions are never presented directly to the audience which the level of mystery that surrounds his intentions remain thick and downright eerie.
Tilda Swinton’s ability to completely capture the feelings of Eva are incredible. How she can play a role and capture the entire movie is a talent that few can do and Tilda is one of those. My first experience with her in a movie was rather late in her career when she was the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. That character was the ultimate highlight in that movie because of how incredibly bitter cold she was. She has that level of strength that comes with playing such a character, whether the White Witch, Gabriel or Eva, that also comes with a vulnerability.
We Need To Talk About Kevin is a chilling story with a extraordinary performance from Tilda Swinton that makes the film worth watching just to see her. It’s enough to make me want to explore her past performances because she’s incredibly convincing.