A Mother's Journey
by Nick James
Sep 01, 2011 | 1137 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The idea that pregnancy doesn’t always turn out for the best is at the heart of Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, adapted from the hugely successful novel by Lionel Shriver. When we first meet Tilda Swinton’s Eva, she’s an American travel writer ecstatically celebrating the famous tomato festival in Buñol, drenched in a luscious red that she will encounter again and again in the film—but that in the future will serve as a reminder of the terrible deeds committed by her son.

In the present day she’s a recluse who’s regularly abused by people on the street; in the flashback past she’s a wealthy wife and mother of a nasty, manipulative boy. Ferociously powerful, the film combines a gut-wrenching portrayal of emotional devastation from Swinton, an upsettingly vicious turn from Ezra Miller as Kevin, and an astonishing range of dazzling images from the director; to the fore here are Ramsay’s trademark manipulations of scale, fascination with consumer culture, lurid palette, slippages of focus and concentration on surfaces.

Reprinted with permission of the author.

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