Tilda Swinton is a wonderful actress. In We Need to Talk About Kevin she is amazing. A harrowing film, as much a horror movie as an emotional study, it follows Swinton as Eva, as she tries to rebuild her life after a tragedy. Director Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar) uses flashbacks and tells the story out of order to increase the level of dread and anxiety as the audience gets closer to the truth of what happened.
Eva meets Franklin (John C. Reilly) and they seem to have a free-wheeling adventurous romance until the birth of their child, Kevin. Difficult from birth, Kevin behaves differently with each parent and Eva has trouble bonding with him. Is she a bad mother? Is there something wrong with him?
We see Eva in a luxurious but sterile home that she shares with Franklin and Kevin. Who are these people? The walls are practically blank and devoid of personality. What do they do all day? We also see her in a broken-down house and neighborhood, desperate to get a crummy job, but we are unclear of the timeframe.
Kevin is played by three wonderful actors: Rocky Duer as a toddler, Jasper Newell as a young boy, and Ezra Miller as a teenager. Who Kevin is and why he does the things he does is never clear, which may be the most terrifying aspect of the film. Especially as children like Kevin keep showing up on the local news stations every day.