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‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’: Kenneth Turan’s film pick of the week

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Returning to theaters after its Academy qualifying run, ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ is well worth catching up to. It’s about a nightmare on your street, not Elm Street. It’s a domestic horror story that literally gets to us where we live, a disturbing tale told with uncompromising emotionality and great skill by filmmaker Lynne Ramsay.

Working from Lionel Shriver’s celebrated novel, Ramsay and her equally unflinching star, the mesmerizing Tilda Swinton, present a troubling, challenging examination of what Ramsay, speaking at Cannes, called ‘one of the last taboo subjects: You’re meant to instantly love your baby from the moment he’s born, but what if you don’t?’ And what if that baby grows into someone terrifying?

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What holds us in the film, besides Ramsay’s skill, is Swinton’s fearless, ferocious performance as someone not only trying to come to terms with an endless nightmare but also agonizing over what part she might have had in its creation.

The Oscar-winning Swinton’s gifts are of course no secret, but this is a special performance, even for her.

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Tilda Swinton, Lynne Ramsay birth a nightmare called ‘Kevin’

-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic


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