We Need to Talk About KevinTheatrical release posterDirected byLynne RamsayProduced by
We Need to Talk About Kevin is a 2011 psychological thriller directed by Lynne Ramsay, and adapted from Lionel Shriver's novel of the same title. A long process of development and financing began in 2005, with filming commencing in April 2010.
Tilda Swinton stars as the mother of Kevin, struggling to come to terms with her son and the horrors he has committed. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was released in the United Kingdom on 21 October 2011.
Swinton was nominated for the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild, and the BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role. It received generally positive reviews from both critics and audiences alike.Contents
Teenager Kevin Khatchadourian is in prison after committing a massacre at his high school. His mother, Eva, once a successful travel writer, lives alone in a rundown house and works in a travel agency near the prison, where she visits Kevin. She looks back at her memories of him growing up as she tries to cope with the hostility of her neighbors.
Kevin is detached and difficult from childhood. He appears to loathe and deliberately antagonize Eva, and she has trouble bonding with him. As a baby, he cries incessantly, but only around her; as a child, he resists toilet training, rebuffs Eva's attempts at affection, and shows no interest in anything. He behaves like a happy, loving son when his father Franklin is watching. Eva's frustration drives her to throw Kevin against the wall, breaking his arm. Kevin tells Franklin he fell, using the incident to manipulate Eva into doing what he wants.
Franklin dismisses Eva's concerns and makes excuses for Kevin's behavior. When Kevin is confined to bed with a fever, Eva reads him a book about Robin Hood; when Robin competes in Prince John's archery contest, Kevin shows Eva affection for the first time. Franklin gives him a bow and arrow and teaches him archery.
Eva and Franklin have a second child, Celia, who is lively and cheerful. However, Kevin is disdainful and jealous. A few years later, Celia's pet guinea pig is killed and she is blinded in one eye by caustic cleaning fluid. Eva suspects Kevin is to blame, but Franklin defends him. Eva's suspicion strains the couple's marriage and they discuss divorce. Eva comes to fear her son, as she sees growing evidence of Kevin's sadism.
As a teenager, Kevin locks several students in the school gymnasium and murders them with his bow. When Eva arrives home, she finds Kevin has murdered Franklin and Celia. On the second anniversary of the massacre, Eva visits Kevin in prison. Eva asks him why he committed the murders. Kevin, who is about to be transferred to an adult prison, responds that he used to think he knew but is no longer sure. Eva hugs Kevin and walks away sadly.Cast
In 2005 BBC Films acquired the rights to adapt the book as a film. Executive producers Paula Jalfon and Christine Langan took it through the development stage, and were joined by executive producer Steven Soderbergh.
Lynne Ramsay, who became available after her involvement in the film adaptation of The Lovely Bones came to an end, signed on to direct, and was working on a script with In the Bedroom writer Robert Festinger by 2006. Shriver was offered a consultative role in the production process but declined, stating she had "had it up to eyeballs with that book," though she did express concern for how the film would capture Eva's role as the unreliable narrator. Production had not begun by 2007, though BBC Films renewed the adaptation rights early in the year. In an interview with The Herald in September 2007, Shriver stated that she had not been in contact with Ramsay about the film for over two years. Ramsay's spokesperson told the newspaper that a new script draft was being prepared and, at the time the interview was published, had not been submitted to the producers. Michael Clayton producer Jennifer Fox joined the production team in 2008; the film was expected to begin shooting that year. The script appeared on the 2008 Brit List, a film-industry-compiled list of the best unproduced screenplays in British film. Ramsay's partner Rory Stewart Kinnear also contributed to the final shooting script.
Christine Langan told the London Evening Standard in February 2010 that the long delay in production had been caused by BBC Films having difficulty funding the high budget; Ramsay rewrote the script so the film could be made for a lower cost. The UK Film Council awarded £18,510 to the production from its development fund in the same month. Financial backing was also provided by Footprint Investments LLP, Caemhan Partnership LLP and Lipsync Productions, and production is in association with Artina Films and Forward Films.
Filming commenced on 19 April 2010 on location in Stamford, Connecticut, and concluded on 28 May 2010. A key filming location was J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford. Jonny Greenwood of the band Radiohead composed the film's score.Release
In October 2009, IFC Films picked up the rights to international sales, and made pre-sales at the American Film Market. Artificial Eye distributed the film in the UK from 21 October 2011. Oscilloscope Laboratories distributed the film theatrically in North America in the winter of 2011.
The film premiered In Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with praise from film critics.
We Need to Talk About Kevin opened in a limited release in North America in a single theater and grossed $24,587, ranking 53rd at the box office. The film ended up earning $1,738,692 in America, and $5,754,934 internationally, for a total of $7,493,626.
We Need to Talk About Kevin was released on Blu-ray and DVD on 29 May 2012.Reception Critical response
We Need to Talk About Kevin received positive reviews. The film currently holds an approval rating of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes; the site's consensus reads, "We Need to Talk About Kevin is a masterful blend of drama and horror, with fantastic performances across the board (Tilda Swinton especially, delivering one of her very best)." On Metacritic, the film received a score of 68 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4 stars and wrote, "As a portrait of a deteriorating state of mind, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a masterful film."
British film critic Mark Kermode of BBC Radio 5 Live named We Need to Talk About Kevin as the Best Film of 2011 and as the second best film of the 2010s.
Richard Brody wrote in The New Yorker that We Need to Talk About Kevin "masquerades as a psychological puzzle but is essentially a horror film full of decorous sensationalism." He opined that the film exploited but did not explore the fascination that "bad seed" children exert.
Jake Martin, a Jesuit priest and movie critic, wrote in his review in Busted Halo that the film is not "yet another installment in the pantheon of post-modern films intent upon assaulting the human desire to give meaning to the world." Instead, he says, "We Need to Talk About Kevin in fact needs to be talked about, as what it is attempting to do by marrying the darkest, most nihilistic components of contemporary cinema with a redemptive message is groundbreaking."
Tilda Swinton was nominated for a number of acting awards, including a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA for Best Actress in a leading role.'Awards and nominations Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee(s) Result Austin Film Critics Association Best Actress Tilda Swinton Won AACTA International Award 27 January 2012 Best Actress Nominated Best Direction Lynne Ramsay Best Film Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, Bob Salerno Best Screenplay Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear BAFTA Award 12 February 2012 Best Director Lynne Ramsay Best Actress in a Leading Role Tilda Swinton Outstanding British Film Jennifer Fox, Rory Stewart Kinnear, Lynne Ramsay, Luc Roeg, Robert Salerno Bodil Award 16 March 2013 Best American Film Lynne Ramsay British Independent Film Award 4 December 2011 Best Director Won Best Actress Tilda Swinton Nominated Best British Independent Film Best Screenplay Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear Best Supporting Actor Ezra Miller Best Technical Achievement (for cinematography) Seamus McGarvey Cannes Film Festival 11–22 May 2011 Palme d'Or Lynne Ramsay Critics' Choice Movie Awards 12 January 2012 Best Actress Tilda Swinton Best Young Actor/Actress Ezra Miller Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association 16 December 2011 Russell Smith Award Lynne Ramsay Won Best Actress Tilda Swinton Nominated European Film Award 3 December 2011 Best Actress Won Evening Standard British Film Award Best Film Lynne Ramsay Best Actress Tilda Swinton Nominated Best Technical Achievement (for sound design) Paul Davies Flanders International Film Festival Ghent Canvas Audience Award Lynne Ramsay Won Grand Prix for Best Film Nominated Golden Globe Award 15 January 2012 Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama Tilda Swinton Irish Film & Television Awards 11 February 2012 Best Director of Photography (Film/TV Drama) Seamus McGarvey Won Best International Actress Tilda Swinton Nominated London Film Critics' Circle 19 January 2012 British Film of the Year Won Actress of the Year Tilda Swinton Nominated British Actress of the Year Director of the Year Lynne Ramsay Technical Achievement (for sound design) Paul Davies London Film Festival Best Film Lynne Ramsay Won National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Best Actress Tilda Swinton Top Ten Independent Films Online Film Critics Society Award 2 January 2012 Best Actress Tilda Swinton Best Editing Joe Bini Nominated Best Adapted Screenplay Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear Rembrandt Award Best International Actress Tilda Swinton San Diego Film Critics Society 14 December 2011 Best Actress San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Actress Won Screen Actors Guild Award 29 January 2012 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Nominated Southeastern Film Critics Association 18 December 2011 Best Actress Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Jury Prize: Best Director Lynne Ramsay Won Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association 5 December 2011 Best Actress Tilda Swinton Nominated Writers' Guild of Great Britain Best Film Screenplay Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear Won References