A (Christmas) Song a Day – Day 345

Cover of "We Need to Talk About Kevin: A ...

Chewy is away so I ate curry and had a film-fest last night.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

I finally saw We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011). I knew nothing about it except that it had very good reviews, so I was surprised to find it was another take on the Virginia Tech scenario (see yesterday’s post). Another American teenager wipes out his schoolfriends (this time in Robin Hood style with a quiver of arrows) and this time his father and sister go too. He leaves his mother alive, with the implication that he killed everyone else to punish his mother for not loving him. The rest of the film asks the question, did she not love him because he was unloveable, or did he become unloveable because she didn’t love him?

I found the film interesting on an intellectual level; the question of to what extent our characters are formed by nature or nurture is still under discussion. However, it failed to engage me on an emotional level. At the end of the day, I didn’t really care about what happened to Kevin or his mother. I’d give it 6/10. It seems to be an Oscar contender. If this is one of the best of the year’s bunch, there’s not much to look
forward to.

The Boy With a Bike (Le gamin au vélo)

This one is Belgian, and recommended by no less than the British Film Institute as one of the best films of the year (depressing, see comment above). Cyril is a ten-year old who has been abandoned by his father and taken into care. He tries to re-establish contact with his father only to be told in no uncertain terms that his father doesn’t want him around. Following a chance encounter the local hairdresser agrees to foster him at weekends, and Cyril finds a new life. Again, I found it fairly entertaining, but it failed to really engage or move me and it’s another 6/10.

There are curious similarities between these two films. They’re both about raising children. Both Kevin and Cyril are in a situation where one of their parents isn’t very keen on having them around. They’re both growing up into potential troublemakers. Kevin’s situation doesn’t change and his behaviour goes from bad to worse. Cyril finds another parent and it all starts to work out for him.

Recommended viewing for anyone who is thinking about having kids.

Song of the day

Is anything more Christmassy than this? Love it love it love it.

3 thoughts on “A (Christmas) Song a Day – Day 345

  1. did you read the book?
    the thing about the book is there is no ‘spoiler’…you do not know about the fact that only mum is saved until the very very end as the whole book is mum writing to her husband…I think the film is the saem?…sort of a pity to see the film first as the book has a real sense of changing the dynamic of the relationship as it goes along. and from your review i feel the book is much deeper re. the relationship and the lack of blame somewhere. I am not sure if reading the book after seeing the film will even work…I have not seen the film thanks for the review x x

  2. Nope, haven’t read the book, but I read a review somewhere that said what you say here – the book goes much further than the film. The film follows the same plot line as the book, you don’t know what happened to dad (and little sis) until the very end – I spent a lot of the film wondering where they were.

    It was also a puzzle that although the film was called ‘we need to talk about kevin’, nobody ever did talk about kevin. if they had, maybe none of what happened would have.

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