Two nights ago, I decided I never want to have kids. Why? Because I caught the first screening of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN — a look at the relationship between a mother and her troubled teenage son. (J/K about the “never wanting kids” part………sorta.) It was also awarded BEST FILM 2011 by EuroCinema Hawaii at last night’s awards gala.
The Lynne Ramsay-driven vehicle paints a pretty bleak portrait of a mother sorting out her memories following an act of violence that involes her only son and it’s without a doubt the most demanding film I’ve seen at the fest so far. It raises a lot of questions about nature vs. nuture, parenting, and every shot is rife with symbolism, which is why it’s perfect for HIFF and our discerning audience members.
Tilda Swinton is really, really good, proving again that there’s nothing the woman can’t do (has she cured cancer yet?), but the real surprise is newcomer Ezra Miller who holds his own against her effortlessly, expanding on the work he did in his first film AFTERSCHOOL, which had similar themes.
Like anyone who fell in love with the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a teenager ten+ years ago (guilty!), you were probably feeling suspicious when you heard there was a film adaptation in the works. But after finding out this kid Ezra’s in it, and seeing his acting chops in KEVIN, my hope has been restored.
The director Ramsay has shot some delicately charged scenes that give the actors enough room to act, considering how loaded the topic is. There are two scenes in particular that just sum up everything I’m trying to get across unsucessfully in this post, so I’ll just let you sift through the film to try and find them.
In a perfect world, all three will be nominated come awards season. Whether you love or hate the film (two people walked out of my screening), it was an admirable effort overall.
It screens one last time tonight at 930p. Bring someone so you both can talk about it. You’ll need to.