Monday, June 4, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin... And Kindness

A few days ago, I finally got the chance to watch We Need To Talk About Kevin, the film adaptation of  Lionel Shriver's novel. Confession: I haven't read the novel. When I first saw the trailer, I was unsettled without really knowing why. All I knew was that I had to see the movie.  

If you haven't read or seen We Need To Talk About Kevin, no worries. I won't spoil a single thing. 

Other than the fact that it devastated me.

Yesterday, Kelly blogged about the Victorians and their take on difficult topics in their work. We Need To Talk About Kevin deals with messy, messy things, too. But here's the thing: I wasn't super affected by the ugly parts. I rarely am, actually. Books, movies, TV, real life. I've grown accustomed to expect the ugly. 

What really affects me, what catches me off guard and devastates me in the strongest way, is kindness.

Heart is what gets me every time. People doing good things. That makes me cry.

We Need To Talk About Kevin shows glimpses of kindness, and they got to me. They push me to be a better person. The film's characterization and plotting push me to be a better writer. My advice to you? Find what wrecks you, and harness it into whatever your passion might be. I have a lot of passions, but one is certainly writing. I only hope I can pull off something as wreck-y to whoever reads my work. 

Now tell me: how do you incorporate what wrecks you into your work?? Have you read/seen We Need To Talk About Kevin? If so, what did you think? 


  1. I read the reviews on Amazon and the book sounds amazing...but I'm afraid to order it because it will likely haunt me long after the last page. I'm the mother of a ten year old boy (a compassionate and loving child, thank God), so I can only imagine the terror and sorrow of having a son who embraces evil.

    I may stretch out of my comfort zone and read it (or see the movie) because of your review. It sounds brilliant.

  2. I loved the film. So far it's the only movie I've given a perfect score to on the film review site I wrote for. After seeing it, I was curious to read the book, so I went and got it. I didn't like it. I hated Eva in the book from the first page until the last. In the film I felt she had some vulnerability, but in the book, she didn't. And I found it really hard to read the book because I disliked her so much.

  3. Sometimes you just need to hold it together, sometimes you need to push yourself over the edge. Right now I can't afford to be a wreck -- will watch only fluffy and unchallenging things until I'm on firmer ground.

  4. Okay, this is going to be tough to tone down my comments, because I absolutely and strongly disliked the movie. I found the acting too self aware, and the film itself leaning towards university standard. Because of that, and its affected moments, the impact of the story was lost. For me, this one tried too hard! Sorry. A bit harsh, and ususally I like twisted little stories, but this one didn't work for me!

  5. I saw the film last week. The extreme subject matter aside, I thought it was a fascinating portrait of Eva. Of course, I like Tilda Swinton in just about everything she's done, and she was probably the only actress who could have played that role so stone cold and yet with so much depth.
    And the actor who played teenage Kevin seemed a little flat until that very last conversation.
    But it was brutal to watch. One of those films you definitely have to be prepared for.

  6. I haven't seen the movie or read the book. I think, however, that I know what you're talking about.

    I've noticed that when I've been broken down by an awful, painful situation, the things that made me fall apart weren't usually more badness...they were the good, true, and beautiful things that made me collapse on the floor in a puddle of tears and humanity. It could be the tiniest thing, even just someone holding a door--when you're not used to random acts of kindness, they can be shocks to the system. (I think the reaction mostly consists of relief that such things do still exist...)

    Thanks for reminding me of this. I'm glad you found it in this story, and it's something I'll strive to capture in my own fiction now.

  7. Thanks for your view on the movie. I actually haven't seen it yet but I ordered it on Blockbuster @Home in Blu-ray a few days ago and got it in the mail yesterday. I get off of working my shift at Dish early today so I want to go home and watch it. I read a lot of reviews about this film and I read about the ending. I know I couldn't wait to watch it; I had to know what happens. Anyways I want to read the book eventually but I don't know what I would do if I was Eva.

  8. I can’t imagine the world without you. I only know it would be a much different, much less comforting place.
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