We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin

A strong soundtrack and a dragged out plot (which is more theme and atmosphere than plot) are the basic building blocks here, crafting a slow, chilly look at a mother's regrets and guilt. What that renders is... infuriating.

Yes, Tilda, it really is your fucking fault.

Yours and your clueless husband's (note how he is just a vessel for patriarchal cliches). The purpose of born-monsters in horror and fantasy is the metaphor of evil and how to fight it; exploring the wake of such a monster's actions requires more than sympathy for those incapable of handling the monster. Infusing a child with the qualities we call "psychopathy" only serves to demonize children, which can be seen by the number of reviews on this site declaring they're glad they'll never have children.

(I don't judge you for not wanting children, but buying into this movie's premise is not a good reason to not want them.)

The idea that anyone might be born evil, that any child might develop villainy the moment they are born, that this is something not learned is a fiction only worth exploring as contrast to reality, not as this cold gaze that pretends to some form of stylish, sterile world where abusive mothers are justified by frustrating demons in child skin. That lie of a person being born evil has always been the basis of war crimes, genocides, and oppression; rendering it as a parent-child relationship is just a slap in the face to all of us who survived abuse at the hands of a cruel guardian.

I get the desire to explore what a parent might feel, think, experience in the wake of her child's actions of mass murder, but this portrait of excuses and revisions and externalizations and alienations and rationalizations and making it about her is far too sympathetic a look at abuse.

52 project: 81/52

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