…and the book and the movie.
First I saw the Lynne Ramsay’s film We Need to Talk About Kevin.
That sent me to book by the same title, the novel by Lionel Shriver on which the movie was based.
And now I want to talk with folks who have seen the film, read the book, or done both.
Briefly, the film is powerful. The acting is as good as acting gets, particularly Tilda Swinton as Eva and Jasper Newell and Ezra Miller as Kevin. The story is tough, and when you leave the theater, the film stays with you. Call it a psychological thriller, a family tragedy, every parents’ nightmare, a horror story, or whatever. Any and all of those labels are apt.
While the film can stand on its own, for me, the film was not sufficient. I wanted to read the book. I wanted to know more.
As is often the case for me, the book trumps the film. On the screen, the character of Eva is played with a minimal of talk, and Swinton’s portrayal of Eva is a triumph (of acting). In the book, Eva, through a series of letters, let’s you in on every aspect of her thoughts, feelings, conflicts, doubts, and conclusions as well as fills in details left out of the film.
And still, despite seeing the film and reading the book, the reader is left with questions:
• Was Eva a bad mother?
• Is Kevin’s evilness nature or lack of nurture?
• Why was Kevin so angry?
• Was Franklin more the problem than Eva?
• Why didn’t the parents do more to intervene and stop Kevin?
• Would any intervention have worked?
• Can a kid be as bad a Kevin is portrayed?
Lots of other questions too.
As usual, I don’t want to have any ‘spoilers’ in this posting. So I will refrain from outlining the story other than to say it is intense, dark, and disturbing, At the same time it is gripping, fascinating, and intoxicating.
I’m not sure how to proceed with talking about Kevin, Eva, Franklin, the film, the book. But I certainly would like to talk with you once you either see the film or read the book. Perhaps we can do so by email, through the Comment section here, or over coffee, drinks, or a meal.
Noor de Lange said:
Yesterday I saw the film. I went alone and it’s a pity I cannot talk to other people about it. The movie has not yet settled in me… though I heartily hughed my 17-year old son when I arrived home.
At this point in my thinking about the film I give Eva a part of the blame as she looks unable to love her son and let him feel it. She does not accept him as he is. For her palying is a succes when the ball is returned to Mammy. He constantly has to achieve is stead of be as he is.
On the other side… Kevin’s dark side might never have been reached in such a way that his anger would have dissolved. Some people are like that.
A few weeks ago there was a Frenchmen killing several people at random. And now we see Anders Breivik in court. Some people are bad.
I do beleive that one of the aims Kevin has that he wants to reach his mother. He stands in front of the bookshop looking at her picture. Whatever he killed his father and sister for….. ????