And now let’s talk about serious things, We need to talk about Kevin, yes this is the title of today’s film by Lynne Ramsay, based on the book of the same name by Lionel Shriver and presented at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
I tell you the truth is a film difficult to see for its realistic nature and for reasons that you will understand later, but even more to review, talking about motherhood, love / hate between children and parents, innate evil, psychological repercussions and missed affections it’s like making an appetizer of bread and psychology.
We need to talk about kevin is the story of Eva (Tilda Swington), who became pregnant with Kevin and not being ready to have him, marks the growth of a boy.
I am deliberately synthetic on the plot, even if in the end this is, and then you can enjoy a film more when you know less, however you can understand more from the trailer.
Eva and Kevin, mother and son, give life to a story of questions, missed love, responsibility and guilt, an intense, painful and sincere film which, as far as I am concerned, ends up in the group of unjust snubbed people.
A disturbing, disturbingly true film, a realistic horror film that nobody would ever want to experience.
Thriller, dramatic, grotesque, And now let’s talk about Kevin is a story that develops by crossing 2 narrative arcs around a main event, a massacre implemented by Kevin in his school. In the film, you choose not to show it, but instead to tell the before and after in parallel.
The first with the aim of being able to understand why Kevin’s actions and the following by showing us the repercussions; Eve’s life (or what remains of it), guilt, responsibilities, the relationship with her son in prison and the relationship with society.
In its own way, the film also manages to flow into horror, as the “evil”, seen in human form (the psyche and folly of man), first child and then boy, scares even more by leveraging our fears more rational.
Tilda Swinton needs no introduction, she is the one who gives face to the countless situations and emotions that make up the film, a stressed, destroyed, empty woman, with a sense of guilt that eats it, a shadow that drags what little there remains of that love that never blossomed and all that took it away.
Ezra Miller (adolescent Kevin) seen in Noi Siamo infinto, The Stanford prison experiment and next Flash in the DC films, from a fantastic, disturbing and disturbing test, with his ironic and evil smile.
A stunning casting also for all the actors chosen for the roles of Kevin from a few years to the adult, in fact Rocky Duer, Jasper Newell and Ezra Miller, as well as making us hope that we will never have such a son, are also quite similar to each other.
The cast also includes John C. Reylly as his loving father, an outline role in this unhealthy love story and a expendable pawn.
Red as the predominant color
The film is a succession of details and clues that make us understand Kevin’s psyche even more or that simply suggest possible scenarios.
From a repeated noise throughout the duration of the film, like an echo that unites the 2 narrative arcs (which we will fully understand only at the apex of the film), to the predominance of the red color.
From the battle of tomatoes in Valencia, to the paint thrown on Eva’s house, to the jam put forcefully on the sandwiches, or even the prints on Kevin’s shirt.
Red, blood red as if to remind us throughout the film how dramatic the epilogue will be.
Motherhood, such a broad, delicate and complex topic is the theme on which the whole affair develops, indeed in this case we can say that it develops on unwanted motherhood.
Let’s start from this, because Eva (Tilda Swinton), a career woman did not want a son, also demonstrating it with the need to have and create her own spaces (see study room), a refusal that Kevin unconsciously absorbed immediately and experienced even growing up.
Victim of a probable postpartum depression, stress and disinterest in her son, the hypothesis of the film is precisely this, that the fault of Kevin’s problematic behavior depends on not feeling wanted by his mother.
Eva’s unconscious refusal leads to strong repercussions, even more in this case due to Kevin’s individuality prone to anti-social and crazy behavior.
Fortunately we also leave at home all the fake goodies that spread with the arrival of children: as not all children are beautiful, love is not an innate feeling.
But there is not only darkness, sometimes you can see something genuine, on one side and the other, of the brief moments of light that last the time to blink, which say more than anything else, weaknesses that lead to discovered other morbid aspects of their relationship, showing us how much they actually belong to each other.
We see the forced affection of a mother who does not love, and a son who represses because he knows he is not loved, all translated into strangled suffering, which finds other ways to come out, such as that of an angry and unrequited love that by repressing itself turns into hate.
And Kevin, an intelligent child and manipulator, demonstrates with sentences and looks that even the antichrist, his awareness of not being loved, not by chance all that Kevin does is theatrical, must make him speak in some way.
No remorse for the actions taken, the only purpose is to harm her, the person who first of all did it to him by not loving him.
A relationship of silence and hatred
Kevin, introverted cold, Eva, detached and forced to love him, together create this morbid relationship of love / hate, like an endless war with some sporadic truce, where all the others (like the sister or the father) are just pawns and where everyone will come out defeated.
Kevin’s last move is the one that should have made him the winner, but that perhaps instead begins to make him understand that his self-sabotage has only done him more damage.
A relationship that tastes of desperate, between feelings of guilt, left-handed shots and malice where mother and son are victims of each other and feed on each other.
Just because you’re used to something, doesn’t mean you like it
But the relationship is there and it shows, and perhaps it is one of the most visceral ever staged, behind the spite and silence there is a deep understanding, a rivalry and a need for each other that pierces the screen, it is understood that Kevin cares about only one thing in his life, his mother.
But if the film on the one hand points the finger and blames the parent, on the other it also tells us another great truth, sometimes things just happen, there is no reason, and the individuality of the character is a incalculable unknown.
Free the little psychologist in you
My advice is to look at it carefully, because of many reflective ideas, it is normal to ask:
- Would Kevin be the same without Eva?
- Would Eva be the same with a different child?
- Could he have done something different?
- Whose fault was it? Eva, Kevin? Of all 2 together?
- Can you not love your child?
- Are you born evil? Do you become there?
- Is it something genetic?
What’s the point? there is no point, this is the point.
I think this is one of those films that if you don’t discuss it you don’t fully appreciate it, it’s one of those that excites you as you see it, but even more when you think about it, that a week, a month or a year has passed, it still does want to talk about it and think about it.
This is the legacy of a film, that element that increases its value over time, and does not make it fall by the wayside.