Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We Need to Talk about Kevin

It's time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is K. K is for Kevin.

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?

Just wondering!

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.


  1. I haven't seen the movie ... but i hope to ... and I am with you on wondering why the mother is always to blame ... perhaps the father figures are all to often "absent" and therefor lack relevance??? On the other hand, i think that nature has a lot more to do about than we realize. Fascination "K" topic!

  2. it sounds very interesting but I can't handle depressing movies.

  3. I'm going to have to take your word for it. I can't stop thinking about movies like this when i see them. I often wonder if a child who has these destructive tendencies can be rescued or not? I doubt if we will ever really know.

  4. Sounds riveting...I'm now debating about whether to see it or not... Not sure I need anything that requires Prozac. ;)

  5. Hmmm. I'm afraid I might find the movie far too disturbing to watch.

  6. I think so much of who a child is can be found in their nature and some of it is from nurture. I am trying to nurture all the best I see in my son.

  7. I can't watch movies like that, I don't sleep for days...

    Nature or nurture? Wow, there's a topic that has potential for disagreement. I believe that nothing takes place in a vacuum and that it is too complicated to explain away either way.

    I guess we all do the best we can in our own way...

  8. I can't help but think that a sociopath comes that way. It's so extreme to have no conscience at all.

    As for the general nature vs. nurture question, I think kids come fully equipped with certain qualities and tendencies. Good parenting can help to shape and channel those a bit. Bad parenting can make them worse.

    I also believe that good parenting can encourage brand new traits (in a "normal" child) and bad parenting can do the same. But I don't think bad parenting can turn someone into a sociopath.

    Totally JMHO, though.


  9. I have not seen that movie before but now I might.

  10. That bothers me too, but I think at one time that was the prevailing thought because of the circumstances. Back when I grew up probably 95% of the mothers stayed home with the kids and the husbands were responsible for the income. Not only did she raise the kids, but she ironed his shirts, cooked the meals he liked, etc. She was responsible for the home and kids and he was responsible for making a living. If something went wrong with the kids she got the blame. Nowadays we should know better. I'm kind of surprised to hear that people are still blaming the mother. Perhaps old habits die hard.

  11. sounds like an interesting movie I may have to watch it

  12. If one mother raises two kids and one turns out bad and one turns out well, you have to say nature was the predominant factor. ~ Maureen

  13. I haven't seen this yet, but probably will. Not so sure about all mothers, or that we have all the answers, but I do know that we as mothers do have some secret hidden power that I have discovered lurks within us, all different of course, but I too have been there with my last baby son, and not that everything a child does is the mother's fault, but as a Mother who better than to love a child that much that we can't find a way to bring them back to safety. Thankfully in my case it worked....all we can do is try....and sometimes try and try until it becomes right....

  14. Hello.
    Not seen the movie, but I'm familiar with Tilda Swinton...she's actually a good actress.
    Not being a parent, it's difficult to answer the questions you pose. I will say this though...parents lay the initial foundation upon which their child is to build (grow).
    Interesting post.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Kingship Of Love

  15. Not sure I could handle this movie... Sounds like a real serious, slightly graphic tear-jerker...

    I think most mothers feel responsible for the decisions their children make...

    Great thought provoking post for the letter "K"!

    Thanks for linking.


  16. I will have to watch, I find movies that make you really think outside box a benefit for us all. It is so easy to blame others but very difficult when it involves you or someone you love. I agree with you about people often blaming mothers of children with autism, my family has told me that I need to "toughen" my son up. I lost it on them one day and now they keep their opinions to themselves. (Thank God). I really enjoy reading your blog, even though I rarely comment your blog has helped me though this journey, and I thank you for that.

  17. In the case of Kevin he was a sociopath and nothing his parents could of done would of changed that. I think thats the beauty of the film, it shows how society is quick to blame the parents, because the minute we hear of people committing those types of crimes we think well he must of come from a family where abuse and/or neglect effected him. This movie went out of its way to show that sometimes the rotten apple falls very very far from the tree.