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We Need to Talk About Kevin Reviews

David Thomson
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

June 19, 2013
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Fragmented, dreamlike, a whir of memories and misery, We Need to Talk About Kevin is unsettling, but also somehow unnecessary.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 2.5/4

March 9, 2012
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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"We Need to Talk About Kevin" is confrontational cinema that will leave you speechless.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 9, 2012
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Director Ramsay makes Kevin's impact all the more felt by coming at it from all angles.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: A

March 9, 2012
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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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 Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 8, 2012
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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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 Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 1/4

March 8, 2012
Rafer Guzman
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2/4

March 2, 2012
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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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 Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 3/4

March 2, 2012
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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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 Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 1/4

March 1, 2012
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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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 Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 1, 2012
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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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 Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

March 1, 2012
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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There's no equivocating ... over the excellence of the acting by Swinton and casting find Ezra Miller

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 9, 2012
Richard Roeper
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Nothing seared my consciousness like the stunning work from Tilda Swinton in "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

Full Review Source: Richard | Original Score: 4.5/5

January 27, 2012
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

January 26, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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Swinton is astounding.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4/5

January 26, 2012
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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That the film works so brilliantly is a tribute in large part to the actors.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

January 26, 2012
Ian Buckwalter
The Atlantic
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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 Source: The Atlantic | Original Score: 10/10

January 23, 2012
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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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 Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: C

January 13, 2012
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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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 Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 13, 2012
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
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This thoroughly well-crafted, if rigidly conceived film could use a little more talking -- at least some therapy! -- about Kevin.

Full Review Source: Associated Press | Original Score: 2.5/4

January 11, 2012
Alonso Duralde
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: TheWrap

December 13, 2011
Bob Mondello
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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 Source: NPR | Original Score: 7.0

December 9, 2011
Dana Stevens
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Even in the film's weaker stretches, the fierce presence of Tilda Swinton made it impossible to tear my eyes away.

Full Review Source: Slate

December 9, 2011
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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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 Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

December 9, 2011
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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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 Source: New York Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

December 9, 2011
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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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 Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 4/4

December 9, 2011
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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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 Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3/4

December 8, 2011
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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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 Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

December 8, 2011
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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"We Need to Talk About Kevin" isn't afraid of the conversation, no matter how painful.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

December 8, 2011
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
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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.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

December 8, 2011
James Berardinelli
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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 Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 8, 2011
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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The movie is creepy, but it has no texture or depth. It's like The Omen directed by Miranda July.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B-

December 7, 2011
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
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View more MSN videosGo to MSN Video One of the most relentlessly and purposefully harrowing movies of the year...

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 5/5

December 7, 2011
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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Were it not for Swinton's magnetism, it would be unbearable. Instead, you'll want to stay for the wallop.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 5/5

December 6, 2011
Karina Longworth
Village Voice
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By treating Kevin's evil as a mystery to be solved, Ramsay only succeeds in making what was once allusive banal.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 6, 2011
Richard Brody
New Yorker
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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.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

December 5, 2011
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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A morbid, misguided mess with a fractured narrative, guaranteed to drive audiences away in droves.

Full Review Source: New York Observer | Original Score: 0/4

November 30, 2011
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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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 Source: AV Club | Original Score: B+

September 9, 2011
Noel Murray
AV Club
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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 Source: AV Club | Original Score: B

September 9, 2011
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Ezra Miller's sneering, absurdly precocious evil-child performance makes him just another bad-seed horror villain.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2/4

September 8, 2011
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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This is, in a way, a real horror film about everyday things and a disconnected family.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

May 17, 2011
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
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'We Need To Talk About Kevin' is thought-provoking, confident and fearless.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 5/5

May 16, 2011
Leslie Felperin
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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.

Full Review Source: Variety

May 13, 2011
Andrew O'Hehir
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There are so many great things happening on almost every level of this movie, from Swinton's haunting, magnetic and tremendously vulnerable performance...

Full Review Source:

May 12, 2011
Laremy Legel
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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 Source: | Original Score: B+

May 12, 2011
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