We need to talk about Kevin is a difficult and unsettling movie. We are asked to believe that an apparently educated and successful couple of parents seemed to fail to realize and address that their child was profoundly disturbed. Moreover, we are asked to believe that one of the parents, the mother, after all did know that something was wrong with her son, but somehow did not seem to address it.
Perhaps some of the movie’s unbelievability stems from the director’s choices. Perhaps a less educated and successful family would be more prone to fail to seek for help… Nonetheless, in the world, almost everything is possible. For example, the mother could well have taken her child’s behavior as a personal attack to herself instead of realizing that her son was deeply disturbed and needed professional help.
Anyway, the movie breaks two expectations. The first, to expect that we all feel the same, even if some of us may need a bit more of reasoning to understand other people’s perspective. This movie shows a child who does not seem to empathize with any feelings of his mother, of the rest of the family and world.
The second, to expect that a parent’s love for the child should be blind and should survive somehow whatever the child does. The movie is sharp at showing us that such love is not healthy and may damage “Kevin” and all those who did not talk about Kevin. It alert us for that fact that love and acceptance are not enough when we are dealing with others.
A lot of lessons to be learned…