I haven't seen the film or read the book, but Tookey's two-star review
of We need to talk about Kevin
strikes me as petty and full of prejudice. Firstly he criticises an "infant" actor for being "one-dimensional"; then he comes up with this:
Nor is there the slightest explanation for Kevin’s extraordinarily evil personality. He is easily the most fascinating presence in the movie, but the film-makers are interested in him only insofar as he affects his mother.
This turns it into a hard-line feminist parable. Miss Shriver poses the question: what are successful career women to do when they give birth to the kind of insensitive, stroppy, aggressive male that they have loathed since their own childhood?
Tookey doesn't seem to know what a parable is. Is there anything 'hard-line' about the story? Would a Tookey-friendly doormat-type woman be any better at parenting Kevin?
It is a query that will strike most people, mothers of boys especially, as more than faintly ridiculous. Kevin is a fantastical creation who bears little or no relation to the vast majority of real boys.
Isn't that the point? I mean, the kids in Outnumbered
are hardly typical either, but they're just about believable enough to get us thinking: how would we cope?
It is no surprise that Miss Shriver herself is childless.
You have only to compare this with other ‘bad seed’ films, such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen and Orphan, to appreciate the movie’s shortcomings as regards pace, storytelling and ability to suspend the audience’s disbelief. This is cheap grand guignol posing as a valuable insight into the male psyche.
I really enjoyed Ratcatcher
and Morvern Callar
, Lynne Ramsay's two previous films, although they are
slow-moving. That last line of Tookey's sounds very unlike Ramsay, who is a discreet director with a slightly surreal touch. We shall see.