A tormented mother grapples with feelings of accountability and intense grief after her troubled 15-year-old son commits an act of violence that shakes their community to its very core. Eva (Tilda Swinton) had a promising career when an unplanned pregnancy threw her life off-balance, though she selflessly put her own ambitions aside to give her son, Kevin, a good life. From the moment Kevin was born, there was a palpable tension between mother and son. Years later, as a teenager, Kevin (Ezra Miller) snaps. As the community recoils from Kevin and his family, Eva begins to question whether or not she ever really loved her son in the first place. John C. Reilly co-stars in this psychological drama based on the novel by Lionel Shriver, and directed by Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar).~Jason Buchanan
Behind the scenes of Kevin - insights from the set with the cast and crew
Extra footage from the famous "La Tomatina" tomato festival in Spain
In Conversation - Telluride film festival honors Tilda Swinton
Interview with Lionel Shriver, author of the source novel
Could you stand to have the entire course of your life defined by one horrific act? If so, imagine said act being committed by someone else. In fact, not just someone else, but your own son.
The film opens on a dream sequence that I struggle to see the relevance of even now and, when it ends, we are introduced to a waking Eva Katchadourian (played by Tilda Swinton). Eva is living in a run-down house that has recently been vandalized along with her car. Rather than report it, Eva (Swinton) merely cleans the windshield and departs on a search for employment. She was once a successful travel writer but has experienced great difficulty finding work since her son Kevin (played by Ezra Miller) took it upon himself to carry out a massacre in his high school. Kevin was a difficult child from infancy, crying incessantly at all hours while Eva’s husband Franklin (played by John C. Reilly) is out of the house working. As Kevin grows older, the difficulties only increase. He doesn’t speak or appear to understand when others do as a toddler. When he finally does speak, he refuses to be toilet trained. This frustrates Eva till she throws Kevin against a wall, breaking his arm. It wasn’t clear, at least to me, whether it was intentional or not, but Kevin claims he fell and returns home willing and able to use the toilet. Franklin (Reilly) is amazed and delighted while Eva is consumed by guilt. When their second child is born, things only get worse.
Swinton’s character is far from perfect, but on some level, the audience sympathizes with her. Both as a mother whose son is clearly more disturbed than her husband is capable of realizing and as the widow being harassed on a nearly constant basis for a crime she didn’t commit. Reilly’s character is infuriating, but only viewing the problem from Eva’s eyes makes it a lot easier to see than it would be for someone spending most of the day outside the home. Prior to watching this film, my only knowledge of Miller’s acting was when he guest-starred as the precocious son of a wealthy, absentee father with substance abuse issues on the USA Network show Royal Pains. That character was highly likeable in addition to being entertaining and the total opposite of Kevin which he plays perfectly.
I would recommend this to a friend
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