Why "We Need to Talk About Kevin"...

I had the great opportunity to watch "We Need to Talk About Kevin" Saturday, and it really got me to thinking.  If I had to bet on it, I'm certain that's what the writer of the book and those behind the film wanted to happen.

It's been a long time since I had a movie grip me from beginning to end.  Every character (major and minor) help create an atmosphere in which you get to see what life is like and once was like for Eva Katchadourian (played wonderfully by Tilda Swinton).

The movie glides smoothly between past and present, showing that the Eva we meet in the present-day was once a joyful woman.  Throughout the movie, we see her smiling, happy, enjoying her love and her success as a writer.  Love existed in Eva's life, yet appeared to fade during her pregnancy.  It is debatable as to what caused that joy to fade in Eva's life..even as she is doted upon by her husband Franklin (played by John C. Reilly) and gives birth to Kevin.  I could assume that maybe she had a gut feeling of difficulties to come.

Present-day Eva is drawn, strained and silent.  We learn through an incident after what should have been a successful day for Eva, that some of the townspeople simply refuse to forgive her.  What did she do to deserve the assault?  Apparently, she gave birth to Kevin.

From Kevin's birth until that life-changing day at age 16, we see that he had something dark lingering within.  His constant crying as an infant was a strain on Eva.  His blatant disregard for his mother added to an already strained parent-child relationship.  We as outsiders are able to see so many signs of trouble...signs that his own father seemed to miss due to Kevin's wonderful ability to manipulate.

We begin to think that there is a turnaround in Eva and Kevin's relationship when he takes interest in her reading a story that lays the foundation for a massacre in Eva's life as well as entire community.  Several incidents give us more clues about the sociopathic behavior that Kevin exhibits.  We see the cracks forming in Eva's life...and it really hits close to home in light of Sandy Hook.

Movies like "We Need to Talk About Kevin" are scary.  They make you think.  You no longer see the safe nature of an unsafe life.  You think about Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora...then you think about your children, your spouse, your community, your own courage.  We have to ask if we could handle what Eva Katchadourian endured before Kevin's massacre, and would we be able to cope after?  A few scenes in the film trigger your knee-jerk "oh hell no" reaction, which is usually what happens when we aren't in that same dilemma.

Another thought that popped up in my mind was the fact that aside from bonding issues with his mother, Kevin didn't fit the stereotypical molds that we put teen killers and psychopaths into.  Kevin wasn't abused, bullied, molested, abandoned, poor, conflicted by his sexuality or any of the other titles we conjure up in conversation to make us think that the danger is far from home.  Essentially, it's possible to say that a child could simply be "born bad". 

Some websites categorize this movie as a horror/drama, which is exactly what it is.  The drama comes each minute the film plays out, but the horror seems to come after the credits.  If you haven't seen it, please check it out.  Don't watch it just because of Newtown, but because it just needs to be seen.  Maybe this film will get things discussed that need to be discussed...and hopefully the next crisis can be averted.


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