UK Release date: 21st October 2011
Watched on Sky+ Friday 29th June 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember when this came out it was highly praised by a well respected film critic here in the UK. I took note and duly added it to my (infamous) ‘To See’ list. It came up on Sky Movies this week and so I thought I’d give it a look. I have to say said critic was not wrong; I was enthralled from start to finish, although I admit I did find the beginning a little confusing. Here’s a very brief (spoiler-free) summary before I give you my thoughts.
Eva lives alone, her house and car have had red paint thrown at them and she is hated by almost everyone she meets. We are shown, in flashback, how her life came to this point. A free spirit, she had fallen pregnant and married Franklin, who had persuaded her to move out of the city after Kevin was born. He was always a difficult child and things didn’t improve as he got older. We switch to and fro between the past and the present; comparing life then and now. In the present Eva finds a job at a travel agent’s, but still finds almost nobody will even give her the time of day. Back to the past and Kevin doesn’t improve even when Eva has her second child, a daughter, Celia. How will it all end? What happened in the past to turn everyone against Eva? And what of Kevin, his father and sister?... Well, I’ll leave you with those burning questions.
Very well made with a really good soundtrack mostly made up of popular songs which sometimes match and sometimes contradict the on-screen action… Nicely done (IMO). There are two stand-out performances; Tilda Swinton is totally brilliant as Eva, she really deserved more recognition for her part here. Also worthy of praise was Ezra Miller as the brooding, menacing teenage Kevin; he gave an outstanding performance. Honourable mentions go to; John C. Reilly as Franklin, Jasper Newell as Kevin, 6-8 years, Rock Duer as Kevin, Toddler and Ashley Gerasimovich as Celia.
I know that one performance (or in this case two performances) doesn’t make a film; however, there is much more to this than first meets the eye. First of all there’s the mystery of why everyone hates Eva; there is some really subtle imagery on show and the use sparing of dialogue gives the audience a sense of the isolation that Eva must feel. I really don’t want to say too much, I came into it knowing very little and I think that’s the best way to see this film. I will watch it again at some point and I’ll probably see even more. This, somewhat controversial, film is well worth a look if you get the chance… HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My score: 9.3/10
IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 25,815 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 76/100 (based on 145 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 25,912 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Kevin: It's like this: you wake and watch TV, get in your car and listen to the radio you go to your little jobs or little school, but you don't hear about that on the 6 o'clock news, why? 'Cause nothing is really happening, and you go home and watch some more TV and maybe it's a fun night and you go out and watch a movie. I mean it's got so bad that half the people on TV, inside the TV, they're watching TV. What are these people watching, people like me?
Eva: Why would you have something like that?
Kevin: I collect them.
Eva: Doesn't it a weird thing to collect?
Kevin: I don't like stamps.
Eva: Then what's the point?
Kevin: There is no point. That's the point.
Eva: Haven't you ever wished you had somebody else around to play with?
Kevin, 6-8 Years: No.
Eva: You might like it.
Kevin, 6-8 Years: What if I don't like it?
Eva: Then you get used to it.
Kevin, 6-8 Years: Just because you're used to something doesn't mean you like it. You're used to me.
Eva: Yes, well, in a few months we're all gonna get used to somebody new.
Eva: You don't look happy.
Kevin: Have I ever?