I’m prepared to not completely swoon over We Need to Talk About Kevin. I already know that the film departs somewhat disappointingly from the structure of the novel on which it is based. I also know that Ezra Miller, the 19-year-old star, is in real life an obnoxious little poseur trying far too hard to affect a poetic existence.
But I can’t winch my expectations down. Not a single notch. It premiers at the Walker tonight, and I’ve got that fluttery feeling—that nerve-y excitement at the prospect of threshold-testing pain. For months I’ve read about this film. The plot (The mother of a teen psychopath who has just gone on a killing spree at school broods relentlessly over her shortcomings as a parent). The director (Lynne Ramsay, the Scottish auteur who elevates misery to operatic levels). The actors (Tilda Swinton, a dramaturge’s dream, and the impossibly loveable John C. Reilly). The narrative (fragmented, impressionistic, often free of dialogue).
The Guardian declared it a “skin-peelingly intimate character study” and a “nihilistic feminist parable.” I am tantalized, scared, approaching the film as I would a flogging. Or an elbow tattoo.
We Need to Talk About Kevin screens at 7:30 pm. Tomorrow night, the Walker shows some of Ramsay’s early shorts, as well as her debut, Ratcatcher, as part of a six-film celebration of the filmmaker. I’ll be there, biting my nails.
Bring the pain.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
February 10, 7:30 p.m.
Free to Walker Members, call box office for reservations
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls.