We Need to Talk About Kevin Reviews

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David Thomson
The New Republic
June 19, 2013
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.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 9, 2012
Fragmented, dreamlike, a whir of memories and misery, We Need to Talk About Kevin is unsettling, but also somehow unnecessary.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 9, 2012
"We Need to Talk About Kevin" is confrontational cinema that will leave you speechless.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
March 9, 2012
Director Ramsay makes Kevin's impact all the more felt by coming at it from all angles.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 8, 2012
It's a hallmark of "Kevin's" emotional bravery and intellectual honesty that the questions haunt us long after the end credits roll.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 8, 2012
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
March 2, 2012
Ramsay may be aiming for a character study of Kevin, but she ends up merely listing the ingredients needed to make a murderer.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
March 2, 2012
Lynne Ramsay's thoughtful, unnerving film works its strange power over viewers who are likely to find themselves as compelled as repelled by its fatally flawed key players.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
March 1, 2012
The narrative strategy amounts to little more than film-school strenuousness, and in the end it can't conceal the movie's essential crudeness - its coarse, artless dialogue, blank character writing and intellectual vacuity.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
March 1, 2012
Ramsay, filming in lurid reds and unblinking close-ups, lets no one off the hook here; this is truly a domestic horror story, with no easy answers and nobody blameless.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
March 1, 2012
Tilda Swinton is the star of We Need to Talk About Kevin, and her performance is so complex and volcanic and transfixing that all of the film's flaws melt away.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
February 9, 2012
There's no equivocating ... over the excellence of the acting by Swinton and casting find Ezra Miller
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
January 27, 2012
Nothing seared my consciousness like the stunning work from Tilda Swinton in "We Need to Talk About Kevin."
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
January 26, 2012
The boy (played by a trio of child actors) is so unremittingly evil that the movie begins to feel like a grotesque remake of that old John Ritter comedy Problem Child.
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
January 26, 2012
Swinton is astounding.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 26, 2012
That the film works so brilliantly is a tribute in large part to the actors.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ian Buckwalter
The Atlantic
January 23, 2012
Kevin is an extraordinary work from Ramsay, a filmmaker with an uncommon gift for getting at the inner psychology of her characters through striking visuals.
Full Review | Original Score: 10/10
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
January 13, 2012
It's a creepy and disturbing movie, but there's not a lot going on behind people's eyes. The soullessness lacks soul.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 13, 2012
Acting doesn't get much better than the subtly brilliant display put on by Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jake Coyle
Associated Press
January 11, 2012
This thoroughly well-crafted, if rigidly conceived film could use a little more talking -- at least some therapy! -- about Kevin.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
December 13, 2011
When Ramsay bombards us with editing tricks and an excess of visual style, it feels like dazzle camouflage designed to cover up the fact that she ultimately doesn't seem to have much to say on the subject.
Top Critic
December 9, 2011
The film's bluntness doesn't diminish the power of the nature-versus-nurture questions Eva's asking herself. Or of Swinton's harrowing portrait of parental guilt.
Full Review | Original Score: 7.0
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Dana Stevens
Slate
December 9, 2011
Even in the film's weaker stretches, the fierce presence of Tilda Swinton made it impossible to tear my eyes away.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 9, 2011
It's a domestic horror story that literally gets to us where we live, a disturbing tale told with uncompromising emotionality and great skill by filmmaker Lynne Ramsay.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 9, 2011
Swinton and Reilly make no sense as a couple, which is all of a piece with "We Need To Talk About Kevin,'' where everyone's motivations manage to seem simultaneously arbitrary and inevitable pretty much all the time.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 9, 2011
It's a gripping, grueling movie, but is it one most American parents will want to watch? Probably not, and I can't blame them. But is it one many American parents should see? Absolutely.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 8, 2011
It's an arty horror movie set within the context of a dysfunctional family, focusing on the massively strained relationship between a conflicted mother and a sociopathic son.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 8, 2011
Ms. Ramsay, with ruthless ingenuity, creates a deeper dread and a more acute feeling of anticipation by allowing us to think we know what is coming and then shocking us with the extent of our ignorance.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
December 8, 2011
"We Need to Talk About Kevin" isn't afraid of the conversation, no matter how painful.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
December 8, 2011
We Need To Talk About Kevin doesn't just bring you to the outskirts of a parent's worst nightmare; this fever dream of guilt and loss takes you straight inside.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 8, 2011
This is a depressing motion picture, yet the issues it addresses are real, especially in a world where the term "childhood innocence" is losing all meaning.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 7, 2011
The movie is creepy, but it has no texture or depth. It's like The Omen directed by Miranda July.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
December 7, 2011
View more MSN videosGo to MSN Video One of the most relentlessly and purposefully harrowing movies of the year...
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
December 6, 2011
Were it not for Swinton's magnetism, it would be unbearable. Instead, you'll want to stay for the wallop.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Karina Longworth
Village Voice
December 6, 2011
By treating Kevin's evil as a mystery to be solved, Ramsay only succeeds in making what was once allusive banal.
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Richard Brody
New Yorker
December 5, 2011
The actors are uniformly skillful (and Reilly's voice is one of the current cinema's charms), but Ramsay gives them little but prefabricated attitudes to work with.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
November 30, 2011
A morbid, misguided mess with a fractured narrative, guaranteed to drive audiences away in droves.
Full Review | Original Score: 0/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 9, 2011
I had a tentative reaction to Ramsay's Morvern Callar at first before thinking it one of the last decade's best films; I suspect this might play better over time, too.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Noel Murray
AV Club
September 9, 2011
In her first movie since 2002's magnificent Morvern Callar, Ramsay continues her fascination with textures, at times reducing her lead character's world to impressionistic fragments: her hands, a wall, splashes of paint, et cetera.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
September 8, 2011
Ezra Miller's sneering, absurdly precocious evil-child performance makes him just another bad-seed horror villain.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
May 17, 2011
This is, in a way, a real horror film about everyday things and a disconnected family.
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
May 16, 2011
'We Need To Talk About Kevin' is thought-provoking, confident and fearless.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Leslie Felperin
Variety
May 13, 2011
Present in every scene so that there's no doubt that her character's consciousness is filtering what's seen, Swinton delivers a concrete-hard central perf that's up there with her best work.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
May 12, 2011
There are so many great things happening on almost every level of this movie, from Swinton's haunting, magnetic and tremendously vulnerable performance...
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Laremy Legel
Film.com
May 12, 2011
Part horror, part drama, part cautionary tale, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a film that will lodge in your memory long after the end credits.
Full Review | Original Score: B+