Movie review: We Need to Talk about Kevin ★ ★ ★ ★

WRITER/director Lynne Ramsay’s structural changes to Lionel Shriver’s novel, telling how middle-class parents Eva and Franklin raised Kevin, don’t detract from the film’s growing tension level.

Eva had Kevin late in life. After a difficult birth, he grew into an unco-operative, uncommunicative, little monster. He liked it that way.  He enjoyed Franklin’s gift of a toy archery set.

Franklin left the hard yards of rearing Kevin to Eva. He regards Kevin’s behaviour as typical of a little boy. Eva never stood up to Franklin or smacked Kevin no matter how atrocious his behaviour. This would come back to bite the family as Kevin approached his 16th birthday with a real archery set. It’s improbable that smacking would have made any difference anyway.

As Eva, Tilda Swinton is, as always, superb. Ezra Miller deals effectively with the anti-hero role of Kevin. John C Reilly never looks comfortable as Franklin.
The structure of Ramsay’s treatment of the story is a giant jigsaw puzzle. The pieces eventually find their places, but it is hard work to see the finished picture. Don’t expect to get warm fuzzies.

At Greater Union

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