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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2012)

tomatometer

76

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 186
Fresh: 141 | Rotten: 45

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).

71

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 13

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).

audience

78

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 32,269

My Rating

Movie Info

A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin explores the factious relationship between a mother and her son. Tilda Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller). Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, We Need to Talk About Kevin explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva's own culpability is

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Lynne Ramsay, Rory Kinnear, Lionel Shriver

May 29, 2012

$1.7M

Oscilloscope Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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December 8, 2011:
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All Critics (187) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (141) | Rotten (45) | DVD (4)

It becomes a film about her [Swinton] scattered mind. That produces wonders from Swinton, but it ignores the plea in the title. What about Kevin? Kevin deserves so much more attention-indeed, he deserves being played by Tilda Swinton.

June 19, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fragmented, dreamlike, a whir of memories and misery, We Need to Talk About Kevin is unsettling, but also somehow unnecessary.

March 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"We Need to Talk About Kevin" is confrontational cinema that will leave you speechless.

March 9, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Ramsay makes Kevin's impact all the more felt by coming at it from all angles.

March 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a hallmark of "Kevin's" emotional bravery and intellectual honesty that the questions haunt us long after the end credits roll.

March 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some movies punish you, but you take it because you're getting something out of the bargain: an insight, a performance, art, adrenaline. Then there are the movies that punish you for the heck of it.

March 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comments (5)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a psychological study of a shattered mother struggling to make sense of a heinous crime carried out by her teenage son, it's endlessly fascinating.

June 2, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

A high school killing spree leads to a captivating examination of parenthood and the 'nature vs nurture' debate.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

A real-world horror movie -- for parents.

December 31, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

It may not be a crowd-pleaser, but it's not every day we get an emotional powerhouse of a film done this well.

September 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

We Need To Talk About Kevin is a brooding, unnerving but wholly rewarding film.

September 15, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

It would be easy to say that the film would be nothing without Tilda Swinton. It wouldn't, but the narrative is quite engaging and Swinton's isn't the only terrific performance.

September 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

There's an infinitely more impactful movie to be made that deals with the same subject but doesn't take things to an unrealistic extreme. A son that's not the very spawn of the devil is a solid place to start.

August 27, 2012 Full Review Source: NECN

One of the most chilling films of 2011

August 14, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

The best horror penetrates beyond external vibe to internal thought-process and the film never truly takes us within the mother's head.

July 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Un drama psicológico tenso y abrumador, en algún punto quizás insoportable. Al final, nadie espera que se entienda por qué pasó lo que pasó, pero sí al menos que se tenga una aproximación a lo que es vivir con una pesadilla a cuestas.

May 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Whatever you think of the philosophical weight of Ramsay's film - I find it ... less nuanced than David Foster Wallace's one liner that Hobbes was simply "Rousseau in a dark mirror" - there's a fierce integrity in Swinton's performance.

April 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Comment (1)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Irony clashes with disturbing drama

April 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

A powerful look inside a mother's torment

April 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

A pretentious, unpleasant, woolly headed movie that's nothing more than a cheesy horror picture for people who wouldn't be caught dead going to a cheesy horror picture.

April 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Comments (4)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Smug but fascinating: The movie is a woman's cry of anguish for an unjust world that enables men at all levels of age and power to get away with cruelty, brutality, murder and even war because, well, 'that's what boys DO.'

April 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) | Comment (1)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Swinton doesn't say much; she doesn't have to. Her tear-stained eyes and anguished face carry all her emotions. In a career filled with so many terrific, subtle performances, this is clearly one of her best.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Rock Duer's a shoo-in if they ever make Satan: The Toddler Years and Jasper Newell manages to project an aura of pure evil even in pull-ups, but it's Ezra Miller as the adolescent Kevin who makes you believe you're in the presence of an American monster.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Of all the nomination flubs made this past January by the Academy of Harvey Weinstein Arts and Sciences, the most egregious mistake was arguably the lack of a Best Actress nod for Tilda Swinton.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing | Comment (1)
Creative Loafing

Watching it isn't easy, but it is definitely worth having waited for.

March 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Audience Reviews for We Need to Talk About Kevin

GREAT acting. It is strange and dark the way the story is told, maybe too artsy at times... but I am happy I stuck with it to the end. Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller are very talented!
September 15, 2013
Tomassgringo

Super Reviewer

We Need to Talk about Kevin is a stunning piece of cinema that is brilliantly acted and directed. The film tells the story of Kevin, a disturbed antisocial teen, who has sadistic tendencies. As he grows older, his behavior becomes more intense, and disturbing. Director Lynne Ramsay crafts something truly unique here, and the film does move a bit slow, but there is always something going on to keep you involved. Tilda Swinton gives a great performance, but the actor who really impressed me was Ezra Miller in the role of Kevin. I though he brought something unique to the screen that made this film standout. This is a thoroughly engaging drama that is one of the finest films that I've seen in recent years. Some of the content is eerie, bone chilling, but that is elevated by a well written script and effective directing. This is a well thought drama that is sure to please viewers looking for something truly intense throughout. This film can easily be seen as a decent into madness for a Teen that is definitely not quite right. Films should definitely be more like this-a strong cast of talented actors and an engaging storyline is what cinema needs right now. The direction is immaculate and it is a hard, but always riveting movie from start to finish. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a remarkable drama that won't disappoint. Lynne Ramsay has crafted something truly original and unforgettable. The film is hard to watch, and will definitely make your viewing experience an unforgettable one. This is a film not to be missed if you enjoy complex dramatic works.
August 7, 2013
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Way better than I expected. I found this quite complicated and I struggled to know who to sympathize with. To start with, I pitied the mother with her difficult son who she found it hard to bond with. I guess my view is a little different to most females on this, as it does make me angry that society push the idea that all women should be mothers, when it is clearly not true. Then, with the mothers second pregnancy, and the child she could bond with, my sympathy shifted a little, as I felt she should have learnt from the first one. Then I felt sorry for Kevin. However, Kevin's behavior is so awful, I felt he needed to take responsibly for his own actions. Yes, he had a crap mother. She did her best, but it was clearly inadequate. I also felt cross at the neighbors and sorry for them at the same time. Was the degree of Kevin's behavior all down to bad parenting? Really? For such a bad mother, she never totally abandoned Kevin.
This is really a controversial movie that I think will raise a lot of different emotions in different people. I think it is very well done. Just such a horrible sad situation which I believe is based on a true story?
December 30, 2012
romy861

Super Reviewer

You have to praise "We Need To Talk About Kevin" for not wanting to go down the creepy kid horror movie route that so many recent films have gone down. By not cheapening the subject matter to a series of jolts and creepy scares it allows the film to try to be a thought-provoking film about the source of evil. What would compel a teenager to commit a murderous act - seemingly unprovoked.

"Kevin"'s protagonist is his mother - Eva Khatchadourian, played with tense (perhaps too tense) intensity by Tilda Swinton. The story follows her struggle to exist in the town where the crimes were committed. Despised by her fellow townsfolk who either mistreat her, ignore her or simply gawk at her, Eva has to find a way to co-exist and spends most of the film, in a heavy-handed moment of symbolism, unsuccessfully scraping red paint off of her house. The film flashes back and forth between her present day where she attempts to reintroduce herself into this society in which she's unwelcome while visiting her son in jail with her past where the story of Kevin and his childhood unfolds.

And this is where the film's problems begin to manifest themselves. The film doesn't seem to know what it wants to say so at the end, it leaves you saying too many conflicting thoughts. Kevin is portrayed from birth as irrationally hateful towards Eva - so is his behavior genetic? Eva is shown to be bitter toward having to raise Kevin (while is seen to be a nurturing mother later to their daughter), so is his behavior learned? Or is Kevin just pure evil? One sequence has baby Kevin crying at a high-pitch for hours in a row with Eva but when Dad comes home the child is OK. How would a baby know to show such a lack of connection to his mother unless it was naturally inclined to be that way? And he also shows to be a highly intelligent toddler for no apparent reason knowing when to deceive one parent while showing his true colors to the other?

Tilda Swinton again proves to be an amazing actress, but her hard portrayal of Eva makes the character's moments of tenderness seem out of character and placed there just to balance out the character's flaws instead of just letting the flaws live.

"Kevin" had some really nice moments especially the ending which is extremely believable and thought-provoking, it's a shame that the film didn't take that conclusion and make the actions leading up to it consistent with a character who would utter those thoughts. That would have focused "Kevin", made it extremely provocative and thoughful, and would have cut back on the creepy horror film conventions that the film seemed to want to shun in the first place.
October 8, 2012
The Gandiman
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer

    1. Eva: Why?
    2. Kevin: I used to think I knew. Now I'm not so sure.
    – Submitted by Jillian L (13 months ago)
    1. Kevin: Have I ever been?
    – Submitted by Iris J (22 months ago)
    1. Eva: Two years. Plenty of time to think about it. I want you to tell me... why?
    2. Kevin: I used to think I knew. Now I'm not so sure.
    – Submitted by Joshua F (2 years ago)
    1. Kevin: It's like this: you wake and watch TV, get in your car and listen to the radio you go to your little jobs or little school, but you don't hear about that on the 6 o'clock news, why? 'Cause nothing is really happening, and you go home and watch some more TV and maybe it's a fun night and you go out and watch a movie. I mean it's got so bad that half the people on TV, inside the TV, they're watching TV. What are these people watching, people like me?
    – Submitted by Cheyenne L (2 years ago)
    1. Kevin: I am the context.
    – Submitted by Memo P (2 years ago)
    1. Eva: Why would you have something like that?
    2. Kevin: I collect them.
    3. Eva: Isn't that a weird thing to collect?
    4. Kevin: Unlike stamps.
    5. Eva: Well, what's the point?
    6. Kevin: There is no point. That's the point.
    – Submitted by Bhavik M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (16)

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