If I thought the Academy Awards were a shambles before watching We Need to Talk About Kevin; I am certain they are now. Apart from all of the usual predictability, bias and preferential treatment, the fact that We Need to Talk About Kevin was not nominated for one single award is simply baffling. No nomination for Tilda Swinton as Best Actress? In fact, the film deserved a nod in at least a few categories, especially considering the general lack of quality across the board with this year’s nominations.
Based on Lionel Shriver’s Orange Prize winning novel of the same title, the film takes on a triple pronged narrative; revealing to us Kevin’s development from being a difficult baby, to a disturbed child and then a genuinely sadistic teenager void of any emotion and a complete hatred for the world and in particular the person who brought him into it.
…[the film] culminates in Kevin committing atrocities not even [his mother] could imagine him capable of.
The film jumps back and forth, highlighting Kevin’s most cruel and inhumane actions, while Swinton as his mother Eva struggles to cope and comprehend with her child’s heartless behaviour. For no apparent reason he dedicates his whole life to projecting his relentless cruelty onto his mother and this culminates in Kevin committing atrocities not even she could imagine him capable of.
Supporting Swinton is John C. Reilly as her loving but naïve husband and the three actors who portray Kevin at different stages of his life match the professionalism of their experienced colleagues with well-balanced subtlety and tension.
…riveting performances and hypnotic and absorbing direction…
We Need to Talk about Kevin tells a harrowing story which is elevated by riveting performances and hypnotic and absorbing direction from Lynne Ramsay. It deserved awards, but maybe those particular elusive honours were not worthy of this film.
Images courtesy of BBC Films