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I guess I just like liking things

There is lot of red in this movie. A very much lot.

There is lot of red in this movie. A very much lot.

I am often asked to recommend a movie to someone and it always causes me joy and anxiety at the same time. Here’s my chance to suggest something they might not have seen or even heard of! But what if they hate it? Movie recommendations rely on so many variables: who are you watching it with, what other movies do you like, how much time do you have, what genre – these are just a few of the questions you have to ask at the outset.  There are very few movies that you can recommend to everyone, and most people have seen most of those already anyway. The Princess Bride is an almost universally-liked movie, but when’s the last time you met someone who hasn’t seen it?

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a movie that I want to recommend to someone, but I don’t know who. It’s not the sort of movie I’d suggest to someone who only watches one or two movies a month, that much I know. For those folk, I tend to stick to your Batmans and your Pixars and your PG comedies. It’s a movie I can’t really do the “if you liked _____, you’ll like this one” for, either. I also can’t quite put it into the “you really should see this movie even though you won’t want to see it again” category (examples” Schindler’s List, Precious). I mean, I’m glad I saw it, but I can’t say I enjoyed it.

I am stumped by this movie.

I’m struggling to describe the movie without saying too much about it, so I’m going to let IMDb summarize it for me:

Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.

So it’s an Evil Kid Movie, but not really like The Omen. Maybe more like The Good Son. In fact, the more I think of it, the more I think that’s its closest relative. All I want to add to that description is that Kevin is one of the most uncomfortable characters I’ve ever seen on film, especially child mode Kevin (as opposed to teenager mode Kevin, who is still plenty uncomfortable).

There’s plenty of evil in the world and we see it on news sites or programs every day. Movies tend to give us over-the-top villains like Freddy, Jason, or Ernst Blofeld, but I think movies like We Need to Talk About Kevin are more terrifying. I will most likely never run into Freddy, Jason, or Ernst Blofeld, but the chances are pretty high that I’ve already met a Kevin or two without knowing it.  I’m not a parent, so I don’t yet have that extra “what if it were my child?” layer of terror to add to my fear, and while I’m sure that would make it worse, it’s already bad enough.

I kind of want you to see this movie so you know what I’m talking about, but at the same time I’d rather you watch something you’re going to like. I mean, I think it’s important to watch films that make you think, and it can be important to watch films you won’t necessarily like, but I don’t know that I want to be the catalyst for you to do so.


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