Photo credit: http://www.cinenews.be/Movies.Detail.PosterBig.cfm?MoviesID=10028&PosterID=31762&lang=en
Cut and pasted from the BFI website:
Lynne Ramsay's award-winning adaptation of Lionel Shriver's Orange Prize-winning novel.
Lynne Ramsay's much-anticipated third feature, a compelling adaptation of Lionel Shriver's bestselling novel, centres on a mesmerising performance by Tilda Swinton as Eva, a mother coming to terms with the horrific actions of her teenage son. Through a series of flashbacks, Eva reflects on her difficulty bonding with Kevin and her role in nurturing him, as she tries to understand if she is responsible in some way for his disturbing behaviour. Visually striking and superbly acted, the film grips from its opening scene to its devastating denouement.
This is yet another very belated film review.
I wanted to see this film as part of the London Film Festival but it was sold out. I then meant to catch it when it was in cinemas originally, but I had a lot on at the time, and I missed it. Luckily for me, the BFI are screening it now, almost 3 months after it was originally in cinemas.
I have to say I LOVED the film. People have mixed reactions to the book, people had mixed reactions to the film. I read the book when it came out and I have now seen the film. They are two very different beasts, but both are exceptional in their own way, and I am highly recommending both.
Sticking with the film, it is very different from the book, because the book is a series of letters that Eva writes to her husband Franklin. The film ditches that framework, and also ditches the voiceover.
Tilda Swinton as Eva is, quite simply, outstanding in this film. I think it is the best performance I have ever seen her give. She conveys very powerfully the impression of a walking corpse following the "incident"; when in theory your life is ticking along as per usual, but in reality you are completely dead inside.
Eva, the walking corpse
Photo credit: http://travissaves.blogspot.com/2011/12/tiff-highlight-8-we-need-to-talk-about.html
She also captures quite brilliantly what it is like when a mother does not connect with her new baby; what post-natal depression is like; how conflicted you are when you do not feel the special mother-baby bond that everyone else is always talking about. Also how you feel, when all the learning you are imparting does not "take"; when your child disregards all the input and advice you are giving; and the horror of having to care for and bring up a child whom you see as evil personified; the devil incarnate. Like the book, it is brave because it challenges all the ideals attached to motherhood. What happens when a mother does not love her child? What happens when a mother wants to harm her child? What happens when a mother does harm her child? What can you do, and what power do you really have, as a mother, to stop your child committing evil acts, and even carrying out murder?
Finally, I have to say that I loved the fact that, true to the book, they saved the gruesome "reveal" right up to the end.
All the actors in the film are excellent, the story is powerfully told and grips from start to finish, there are moments when you can barely sit and watch the screen, and I love the moral problems and dilemmas that it poses and explores.
It is a very dark and unremitting film, full of despair and hopelessness and impending tragedy. That is just the way I like my films!
Highly highly highly recommended.
There are a few more screenings of the film at the BFI:
Buy the book here:
Pre-order the DVD here (it will be released at the end of February):