“We Need to Talk About Kevin” is one of the most disturbing, upsetting films that I have ever seen. Had I known what lied within, I would have chosen not to watch. Maybe it hit me so hard because I am a new father, but the concept and delivery of this parenting nightmare is scarier than any horror film. This is the story of a mother whose inability to connect with her son progressively destroys her life. The scariest part is that she doesn’t really do anything wrong – he just seems to be a bad seed. The story is told through an extensive flashback that is frequently interrupted by images of Kevin’s mother in the present. These interruptions are very brief but drive home the point that her life is in ruins because of Kevin, hinting at some sort of school tragedy but saving the full revelation for the very end. The upsetting script is impressively interpreted by the actors, particularly Tilda Swinton. She goes beyond the expressions of happy and sad as her character experiences many different degrees of sadness. Her acting is so raw that you will feel your own world spiraling out of control alongside hers. Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, and Rocky Duer portray Kevin from a toddler to a teenager. They capture the inherent wickedness that lies within the character and make it clear that it is always present, even when he pretends to care about anyone. The psychology behind Kevin is disturbing but entirely believable as he lives a mischievous life without remorse. He shows a complete lack of sympathy, compassion, respect, and remorse despite the efforts of his mother. You need to be warned that this film is relentless. It does not have a moment of comic relief. There is no sentimental moment or sense of hope. It is a 2-hour downer whose tone is bleak from start to finish and I was mortified for most of the final 20 minutes. This film reminds me of “Requiem for a Dream.” On the surface, it doesn’t seem like it will be that bad but once you see what is inside, you will never be the same. I’m not trying to talk you out of seeing “We Need to Talk About Kevin” because it is very well-written and has stunning performances by the entire cast; however, this film exists in a very dark place and you need to realize that it will take you there for two hours of your life.
[Pictured: The film is amazing from a technical standpoint but I never want to revisit this dark place]