I sat through all three of the following clips from the new indie film, We Need to Talk About Kevin yesterday. The troubling images and dialogue stuck with me.
The film, based on Lionel Shriver’s book of the same name focuses on a couple, Eva and Franklin and their son, Kevin. I haven’t read the book and I doubt that I’ll see the film–it’s that disturbing. I discovered an old interview with the author by Suzy Hansen for Salon.com that has convinced me not let this mess inside my head. I find that this whole story takes the Mother Blaming stance that Society stamps on our foreheads to the extreme. (Nancy Grace probably loves it…) I don’t think I can take it, however well-written and filmed.
“In “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” Lionel Shriver’s seventh novel, 16-year-old Kevin Khatchadourian locks seven teenagers, an English teacher and a cafeteria worker in the high school gym and systematically offs every one of them — with a crossbow, no less. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Kevin’s not only a killer, and a chillingly creative one, but he’s joined the exhausting litany of troubled white boys taking out their angst on innocent peers; he’s the grisly topic of nightly talk shows.
And so are his parents. After all, at some point between hanging a mobile above Kevin’s crib and shepherding him to school dances, something went horribly wrong.
What went wrong is what Eva, Kevin’s mother, tries to figure out in a series of letters to her “estranged” husband Franklin, a year or so after their son unleashed his not-so-secret rage on their quaint, affluent New York suburb (Kevin is very upset when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris steal his spotlight a few weeks later). The Khatchadourians (there’s a younger daughter named Celia, too) are wealthy and white; Kevin grows up never wanting for anything. But while Shriver attacks the phenomenon with unflagging gusto (she heavily researched the real-life school murders of the late 1990s), she isn’t preoccupied with figuring out what motivates these young men, nor does she ruminate on how a vapid American society creates adolescent monsters.
Thank God for that — what we get instead is a much more interesting, thoughtful, and surprisingly credible, thriller. “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is about motherhood and the possibility that one’s ambivalence about breeding might influence the growth and development of a child.
The fact of the matter, though, is that the subject matter of We Need to Talk About Kevin is completely and entirely fascinating while at the same time being horrifyingly true-to-life.
We Need to Talk About Kevin clip 1 by Flixgr