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Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Ashley Gerasimovich, Ursula Parker ... see more see more... , Jasper Newell , Rocky Duer , Siobhan Fallon

A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin explores the factious relationship between a mother and her son. Tilda Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-forc... read more read more...e performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller). Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, We Need to Talk About Kevin explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva's own culpability is measured against Kevin's innate evilness. -- (C) Oscilloscope

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78% liked it

32,254 ratings


76% liked it

186 critics

DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012

Stats: 2,892 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (2,892)

  • September 15, 2013
    GREAT acting. It is strange and dark the way the story is told, maybe too artsy at times... but I am happy I stuck with it to the end. Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller are very talented!
  • August 7, 2013
    We Need to Talk about Kevin is a stunning piece of cinema that is brilliantly acted and directed. The film tells the story of Kevin, a disturbed antisocial teen, who has sadistic tendencies. As he grows older, his behavior becomes more intense, and disturbing. Director Lynne Rams... read moreay crafts something truly unique here, and the film does move a bit slow, but there is always something going on to keep you involved. Tilda Swinton gives a great performance, but the actor who really impressed me was Ezra Miller in the role of Kevin. I though he brought something unique to the screen that made this film standout. This is a thoroughly engaging drama that is one of the finest films that I've seen in recent years. Some of the content is eerie, bone chilling, but that is elevated by a well written script and effective directing. This is a well thought drama that is sure to please viewers looking for something truly intense throughout. This film can easily be seen as a decent into madness for a Teen that is definitely not quite right. Films should definitely be more like this-a strong cast of talented actors and an engaging storyline is what cinema needs right now. The direction is immaculate and it is a hard, but always riveting movie from start to finish. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a remarkable drama that won't disappoint. Lynne Ramsay has crafted something truly original and unforgettable. The film is hard to watch, and will definitely make your viewing experience an unforgettable one. This is a film not to be missed if you enjoy complex dramatic works.
  • December 30, 2012
    Way better than I expected. I found this quite complicated and I struggled to know who to sympathize with. To start with, I pitied the mother with her difficult son who she found it hard to bond with. I guess my view is a little different to most females on this, as it does make... read more me angry that society push the idea that all women should be mothers, when it is clearly not true. Then, with the mothers second pregnancy, and the child she could bond with, my sympathy shifted a little, as I felt she should have learnt from the first one. Then I felt sorry for Kevin. However, Kevin's behavior is so awful, I felt he needed to take responsibly for his own actions. Yes, he had a crap mother. She did her best, but it was clearly inadequate. I also felt cross at the neighbors and sorry for them at the same time. Was the degree of Kevin's behavior all down to bad parenting? Really? For such a bad mother, she never totally abandoned Kevin.
    This is really a controversial movie that I think will raise a lot of different emotions in different people. I think it is very well done. Just such a horrible sad situation which I believe is based on a true story?
  • October 8, 2012
    You have to praise "We Need To Talk About Kevin" for not wanting to go down the creepy kid horror movie route that so many recent films have gone down. By not cheapening the subject matter to a series of jolts and creepy scares it allows the film to try to be a thought-provoking... read more film about the source of evil. What would compel a teenager to commit a murderous act - seemingly unprovoked.

    "Kevin"'s protagonist is his mother - Eva Khatchadourian, played with tense (perhaps too tense) intensity by Tilda Swinton. The story follows her struggle to exist in the town where the crimes were committed. Despised by her fellow townsfolk who either mistreat her, ignore her or simply gawk at her, Eva has to find a way to co-exist and spends most of the film, in a heavy-handed moment of symbolism, unsuccessfully scraping red paint off of her house. The film flashes back and forth between her present day where she attempts to reintroduce herself into this society in which she's unwelcome while visiting her son in jail with her past where the story of Kevin and his childhood unfolds.

    And this is where the film's problems begin to manifest themselves. The film doesn't seem to know what it wants to say so at the end, it leaves you saying too many conflicting thoughts. Kevin is portrayed from birth as irrationally hateful towards Eva - so is his behavior genetic? Eva is shown to be bitter toward having to raise Kevin (while is seen to be a nurturing mother later to their daughter), so is his behavior learned? Or is Kevin just pure evil? One sequence has baby Kevin crying at a high-pitch for hours in a row with Eva but when Dad comes home the child is OK. How would a baby know to show such a lack of connection to his mother unless it was naturally inclined to be that way? And he also shows to be a highly intelligent toddler for no apparent reason knowing when to deceive one parent while showing his true colors to the other?

    Tilda Swinton again proves to be an amazing actress, but her hard portrayal of Eva makes the character's moments of tenderness seem out of character and placed there just to balance out the character's flaws instead of just letting the flaws live.

    "Kevin" had some really nice moments especially the ending which is extremely believable and thought-provoking, it's a shame that the film didn't take that conclusion and make the actions leading up to it consistent with a character who would utter those thoughts. That would have focused "Kevin", made it extremely provocative and thoughful, and would have cut back on the creepy horror film conventions that the film seemed to want to shun in the first place.
  • August 20, 2012
    The very beginning gives a hint that the director is attempting to offer something different. Unfortunately, I don't have a taste for that different artistic cinema. The pace with which the movie progresses & the screenplay (I haven't read the book the movie is based on as yet, n... read moreor do I intend to in the distant future) with fluctuating timeline didn't suit me. The casting too didn't seem appropriate. Specifically the teen Kevin didn't fit the role. The inability of most of the actors involved (mainly, the protagonists) to create any feelings for/against their characters is appalling. It fails to shake or shock, when needed. But the realistic portrayal worked for me. Exposing the dark side of humanity without involving supernatural elements (I was curious to know whether the movie reminded anyone else too of "Joshua", and am satisfied to learn that I was not the only one!!) is appreciable. If only the pace had been better, and it didn't have this artistic touch to it, it'd have worked even better for me. To each, their own. If you've managed to read my comment in its entirety, it won't be no drag for you to sit through. Of course, it doesn't imply enjoying either of them.
  • August 7, 2012
    While it would be trite to make a joke about how we need to talk about this film right now, Lynne Ramsey‚(TM)s We Need to Talk About Kevin does need to be properly digested. First off, we should get something out of the way. Tilda Swinton is a national treasure. That is all we ne... read moreed to say about her. The world has sung her praises time and time again and I will not continue to do so here. We all know she is damn good, and surprise surprise, she is phenomenal here. So let‚(TM)s move on.
    As the titled suggests, something is amiss with Kevin. While Kevin‚(TM)s problems are thoroughly probed and unfortunately played up to the hilt, the main story here revolves around the demons that plague Kevin‚(TM)s mother Eva (Swinton). Eva is an almost comically spiritless, self-loathing mother. The source of her disconsolation is of course her son, a hard-boiled psychopath who is responsible for the death of many of his fellow classmates. Whether she is suffering the ire of a victim‚(TM)s family, the casual oppression of a stranger‚(TM)s glare, or from her own cerebral affliction, Eva is unnervingly sympathetic.
    After all, choosing to bring a child into this world a momentous gamble. Sure, one can nurture their child in a manner that may improve the chances of he/she having a promising future. But, in the end, you are just casting a line out into an ocean of elements that all have an immense capacity for shaping its fate. For reasons unknown, Kevin is adamant in his pursuit to bring more cruelty into this world. And while the actions of Eva and her son are worlds apart, Eva knows deep down that they were cut from the same cloth.
    This sprawling character study is given focus by Ramsey‚(TM)s excellent direction. Every moment seems meticulously planned, subtly showing the likeness and shared culpability of both mother and son. Ramsey‚(TM)s visual knack also causes many scenes, already brimming with tension, to burst with outright terror. (There is a dinner scene that takes place in the aftermath of an ocular accident that will make you stir in your seat.)
    The camerawork is gracefully disorienting, blending vignettes of past memories and the current, albeit hazy, moments that constitute Eva‚(TM)s reality. Ramsey‚(TM)s use of color is also startling, even if it is a bit overdone. With reoccurring scenes of Eva miserably basking in a cardinal glow, or the searing crimson alarm clock blinking 12:00 A.M and consequently reminding the viewer of the eternal hell that Eva has imprisoned herself in, the colors will get lodged into your mind.
    Even the sound is penetrating. It soaks into your very core and excellently immerses the viewer into Eva‚(TM)s anxious, guilt-ridden state of being. Employing the musical stylings of artists such as Buddy Holly, Ramsey juxtaposes the idealism of these songs with the stark reality of a world that seems unremittingly focused on her implosion. All in all, Ramsey‚(TM)s direction is very impressive.
    Unfortunately, the film‚(TM)s script doesn‚(TM)t keep up with the sharp direction. Although it is has been harped on by other critics, it is fair to point out how gallingly sinister the child is. I do understand that this is not an objective portrayal of Kevin. That the memories of Kevin are filtered through Eva‚(TM)s crippling concoction of misery & self-doubt. Unfortunately, the script‚(TM)s continual playing up of the psychopathic nature of Kevin can become quite jarring after awhile and often seems at odds with the heartbreaking study of one mother‚(TM)s lament for innocence lost. Especially since this takes up much of the second act of the film. There were many instances in which Kevin‚(TM)s retorts seemed so far-fetched, even for a distressed mind. I understand the need to show how the confluence of both of their personalities is what created this situation, but I just wish Kevin‚(TM)s character would have been treated with some of the same subtle care that Eva‚(TM)s was.
    We Need to Talk About Kevin can best be likened to a quilt that has been soaked in blood. One that is masterfully weaved together even if some of its parts don‚(TM)t concord with the whole. The parts that do work however, driven primarily by an awe-inspiring performance from Swinton (I know, I know), are incredibly powerful.
  • July 31, 2012
    Lynne Ramsay's latest film is a tour de force of economy. There's not a single shot wasted. Brilliantly structured, incredibly taut with a shattering tension throughout. Not a moment goes by that isn't informing, telling the story, adding to the cumulative exploration of a dysfun... read morectional mother- son relationship and its purgatorial fall-out. It's also a rather gentle film (dare I say it, a feminine film): the narrative is constantly split between past and present, the tone moving between all-pervasive paranoia, drudge and romance. The movement isn't jerky though, with regular pacing of the flashing back and forwards, meticulously edited cuts and a very clever original + co-opted soundtrack that often works in contrary motion to the tone, smoothing it out -- not to mention its tonal wonder by being grounded as a realistic drama, but with just the right amount of psychological horror peppered in.

    This is a film about a mother confronting motherhood across an overlapping three-act structure: before Kevin's birth, with Kevin, after Kevin's crime. Tilda Swinton is always great, but here she is absolutely masterful (perhaps her best performance ever) -- her selection of uncomprehending thousand yard stares far removed from the opaque look favored by many other actors working to this level. It helps that the three Kevin's who play the title role are all uniformly superb as well - hideous, sly, handsome.

    It's the visuals that pulled me up and pressed me back down over and over. The opening 5 minutes or so are worth more than many hours of mediocre film making that I'm perfectly happy to sit through as a general rule in a cinema: the Boschian Tomatina fight, with the equivocal vision of a blissed out Eva buried in the blood red Sartrean-viscous filth is a particularly arresting opening statement. It's not an easy watch, although there is no sensationalism. It is, however, always poetic.

    The only criticism holding We Need To Talk About Kevin back from being a flat out masterpiece is that Kevin is portrayed as being a little too evil. If the film were a straight horror film, then that would be fine, but I would argue that it isn't; therefore, the character teeters on being unrealistic. This is merely a small gripe. Overall, this film is an astonishing achievement -- a bold entry into the classic nature vs. nurture argument that is horrifying, thought-provoking and a disturbing encapsulation of the times we live in.
  • July 29, 2012

    If your looking for an incredibly disturbing blend of gripping drama and eery horror you need not look further than We Need To Talk About Kevin. Possibly the most fascinating film of 2012. Tilda Swinton d... read moreelivers her finest performance as the title characters mother, the brilliantly adapted screenplay sympathises her so much that her emotionally involving performance is that much more realistic. This is the kind of film that the Oscars would deliberately overlook, it deserves a lot more credit than it gets, with fine performances all around, incredible cinematography, a believable script and great set design, the film is as ruthlessly terrifying as it's truly horrific main character. Although not for the faint hearted this will entertain the open minded. Definetely, one of the scariest films of the year.
  • fb791220692
    July 22, 2012
    Brutal and uncompromising, "We Need to Talk About Kevin" is one of the few movies to truly get under my skin. It's an unpleasant experience, but Tilda Swinton's dizzyingly depressing performance makes it hard to not be enthralled from beginning to end. There are a few irksome log... read moreical problems - since the movie is going for a realistic take on an evil child, one would expect some actions to be taken by a person in Swinton's position that are missing. Also, the film doesn't really explore the titular villain enough. We get a case study from the cold, unfortunate mother, while the more interesting character is only observed from a distance.
  • July 22, 2012
    Although Swinton was great as the dazed Eva. Her incapability to connect with her son is sad, but not heartbreaking. I couldn't connect with Kevin or Eva, their characters are both so cold.

    What I liked about it, is that this side of these sort of tragedy's usually remains unde... read morer exposed. These parents are victims too, although they generally are held accountable for their kid's actions. But this boy is a textbook psycho/sociopath.

    I can't believe that this sort of sh*t still happens.

Critic Reviews

David Thomson
June 19, 2013
David Thomson, The New Republic

It becomes a film about her [Swinton] scattered mind. That produces wonders from Swinton, but it ignores the plea in the title. What about Kevin? Kevin deserves so much more attention-indeed, he deser... Full Review

Steven Rea
March 9, 2012
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

Fragmented, dreamlike, a whir of memories and misery, We Need to Talk About Kevin is unsettling, but also somehow unnecessary. Full Review

Joe Williams
March 9, 2012
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"We Need to Talk About Kevin" is confrontational cinema that will leave you speechless. Full Review

Tom Long
March 9, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

Director Ramsay makes Kevin's impact all the more felt by coming at it from all angles. Full Review

Colin Covert
March 8, 2012
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

It's a hallmark of "Kevin's" emotional bravery and intellectual honesty that the questions haunt us long after the end credits roll. Full Review

Ty Burr
March 8, 2012
Ty Burr, Boston Globe

Some movies punish you, but you take it because you're getting something out of the bargain: an insight, a performance, art, adrenaline. Then there are the movies that punish you for the heck of it. Full Review

Rafer Guzman
March 2, 2012
Rafer Guzman, Newsday

Ramsay may be aiming for a character study of Kevin, but she ends up merely listing the ingredients needed to make a murderer. Full Review

Ann Hornaday
March 2, 2012
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Lynne Ramsay's thoughtful, unnerving film works its strange power over viewers who are likely to find themselves as compelled as repelled by its fatally flawed key players. Full Review

Mick LaSalle
March 1, 2012
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

The narrative strategy amounts to little more than film-school strenuousness, and in the end it can't conceal the movie's essential crudeness - its coarse, artless dialogue, blank character writing an... Full Review

Moira MacDonald
March 1, 2012
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

Ramsay, filming in lurid reds and unblinking close-ups, lets no one off the hook here; this is truly a domestic horror story, with no easy answers and nobody blameless. Full Review

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    • Eva: Why?
    • Kevin: I used to think I knew. Now I'm not so sure.
    • Kevin: Have I ever been?
    • Eva: Two years. Plenty of time to think about it. I want you to tell me... why?
    • Kevin: I used to think I knew. Now I'm not so sure.
    • Kevin: It's like this: you wake and watch TV, get in your car and listen to the radio you go to your little jobs or little school, but you don't hear about that on the 6 o'clock news, why? 'Cause nothing is really happening, and you go home and watch some more TV and maybe it's a fun night and you go out and watch a movie. I mean it's got so bad that half the people on TV, inside the TV, they're watching TV. What are these people watching, people like me?
    • Kevin: I am the context.
    • Eva: Why would you have something like that?
    • Kevin: I collect them.
    • Eva: Isn't that a weird thing to collect?
    • Kevin: Unlike stamps.
    • Eva: Well, what's the point?
    • Kevin: There is no point. That's the point.

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