‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ is a 2011 drama and thriller adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel of the same name. The film is directed by Lynne Ramsey and stars both Ezra Miller and Jasper Newell as Kevin and Tilda Swinton and John C Reilly as Eva and Franklin; Kevin’s tormented parents.
Well, if you’re going to take one thing away from seeing this film, it’s that you’ll be seeing red days after you’ve finished watching it. Red is absolutely everywhere throughout the film and it looms threateningly from almost every scene in Eva’s present, underpinning a mother’s guilt at her failure in bringing up a sadistic and evil child. Strawberry jam, red lights, the red paint splashed on Eva's house… The list goes on. The scene which strikes me as particularly effective is when a gaunt Eva attempts to seek solace in another aisle from a woman during the grocery shopping scene and is framed completely by red Campbell soup tins. This suggests she cannot escape, try as she might, from her guilt and lead a normal life.
We feel (or I felt) not disgust as the other characters project, but pity towards Eva; Franklin seems to have abandoned her, her work life is mundane and unfulfilling due to her low self-esteem and the hatred she seemingly conjures up towards her. As Eva's work colleague points out probably quite rightly, who else is going to want her now? It’s as though guilt, mystery, love, evil and of course the colour red have all been thrown into a blender and whizzed up to create this super emotionally charged and brilliant thriller.
But just what is the bloomin' secret! Those of you who have read the book will know the horrible answer and ending which is constantly and tantalisingly being dangled in front of the audience like a carrot. Trust me though; it is absolutely worth waiting an hour and a half for!
Film poster from Minimal Movie Posters.