We Need to Talk About Kevin (film)

We Need to Talk About Kevin
We need to talk about kevin ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLynne Ramsay
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Lynne Ramsay
  • Rory Stewart Kinnear
Based onWe Need to Talk About Kevin
by Lionel Shriver
Music byJonny Greenwood
CinematographySeamus McGarvey
Edited byJoe Bini
  • BBC Films
  • UK Film Council
  • Footprint Investment
  • Piccadilly Pictures
  • Lipsync Productions
  • Independent
  • Artina Films
  • Rockinghorse Films
Distributed byOscilloscope Laboratories
Release date
  • 12 May 2011 (2011-05-12) (Cannes)
  • 21 October 2011 (2011-10-21) (United Kingdom)
Running time
112 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Budget$7 million[2]
Box office$10.8 million[3]

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a 2011 psychological horror tragedy film[4][5][6][7][8][9] directed by Lynne Ramsay, and adapted from Lionel Shriver's novel of the same title. A long process of development and financing began in 2005, with filming commencing in April 2010.

Tilda Swinton stars as the mother of Kevin, struggling to come to terms with her son and the horrors he has committed. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was released in the United Kingdom on 21 October 2011.

Swinton was nominated for the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild, and the BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role. It received generally positive reviews from both critics and audiences alike.


Teenager Kevin Khatchadourian is in prison after committing a massacre at his high school. His mother, Eva, once a successful travel writer, lives alone in a rundown house and works in a travel agency near the prison, where she visits Kevin. She looks back at her memories of him growing up as she tries to cope with the hostility of her neighbors.

Kevin is detached and difficult from childhood. He appears to loathe and deliberately antagonize Eva, and she has trouble bonding with him. As a baby, he cries incessantly, but only around her; as a child, he resists toilet training, rebuffs Eva's attempts at affection, and shows no interest in anything. He behaves like a happy, loving son when his father Franklin is watching. Eva's frustration drives her to throw Kevin against the wall, breaking his arm. Kevin tells Franklin he fell, using the incident to blackmail Eva into doing what he wants.

Franklin dismisses Eva's concerns and makes excuses for Kevin's behavior. When Kevin is confined to bed with a fever, Eva reads him a book about Robin Hood; when Robin competes in Prince John's archery contest, Kevin shows Eva affection for the first time. Franklin gives him a bow and arrow and teaches him archery.

Eva and Franklin have a second child, Celia, who is lively and cheerful. However, Kevin is disdainful and jealous. A few years later, Celia's pet guinea pig is killed and she is blinded in one eye by caustic cleaning fluid. Eva is suspicious, but Franklin insists that Kevin is not to blame. Eva's suspicion strains the couple's marriage and they discuss divorce. Eva comes to fear her son, as she sees growing evidence of Kevin's sadism.

As a teenager, Kevin locks several students in the school gymnasium and murders them with his bow. When Eva arrives home, she finds Kevin has murdered Franklin and Celia. On the second anniversary of the massacre, Eva visits Kevin in prison. Eva asks him why he committed the murders. Kevin, who is about to be transferred to an adult prison, responds that he used to think he knew but is no longer sure. Eva hugs Kevin and walks away sadly.

Other Languages