My husband and I watched We Need to Talk about Kevin the other night. I highly recommend this movie. While it's beyond depressing, it covers some interesting topics such as unconditional love through horrible acts and the mother's role in these acts.
I don't want to give much away, plot-wise. I will say that Tilda Swinton plays Eva, a mother of a son who committed unspeakable acts of violence. She spends a lot of the movie wallowing in guilt and loving this "monster."
The question the movie left me with is: How responsible is the mother when her child does an unspeakable act? Some of you might jump in and correct me and say the question should be how responsible are the parents. I am purposely posing the question with just the mother being responsible. Why? Because society always seems to put all the blame on the mother when things don't go well.
Are mothers responsible? This is a general question that probably can only be answered on a case by case basis. In the case of the movie, they show Eva to be a less than perfect mother. She's not naturally maternal. She seems to resent being a mother and giving up the freedom she had before becoming a mother. Actually, I really related to her character! Does this provide the ingredients to cause a child to be amoral?
In the case of the movie, I'd have to say, "No!" Kevin was shown to be a sociopath or a psychopath since the time he was a young toddler. It just seemed to be who he was. Yet, I found people who commented on the boards at the IMDB site seemed to place a lot of the blame on the mother character. Interestingly, one review I read at this site complained that the movie was too extreme in making Kevin an obvious sociopath when a more interesting movie would have been to be more ambiguous to raise more questions regarding nature vs. nuture. Nevertheless, a sizable number of people commenting blamed Tilda's Swinton's character for how her son turned out.
I find an interesting parallel with the topic of autism. While experts have found no evidence that a mother is responsible for her child's autism, many people in society blame the mother anyway.
Why is the mother always blamed? Why can't people at least pick on both parents?
Anyway, if you have a chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it. Just be sure to get a prescription of Prozac for after the movie. It's not an easy movie to watch.