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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

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Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous 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.


Lynne Ramsay


Lynne Ramsay (screenplay), Rory Stewart Kinnear (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,280 ( 348)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 27 wins & 62 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tilda Swinton ... Eva Khatchadourian
John C. Reilly ... Franklin
Ezra Miller ... Kevin, Teenager
Jasper Newell ... Kevin, 6-8 Years
Rock Duer ... Kevin, Toddler (as Rocky Duer)
Ashley Gerasimovich ... Celia
Siobhan Fallon Hogan ... Wanda
Alex Manette ... Colin
Kenneth Franklin Kenneth Franklin ... Soweto
Leslie Lyles Leslie Lyles ... Smash Lady
Paul Diomede Paul Diomede ... Corrections Officer Al
Michael Campbell Michael Campbell ... Corrections Officer
J. Mallory McCree ... Prison Boy (as J. Mal McCree)
Mark Elliot Wilson Mark Elliot Wilson ... Eva's Lawyer
James Chen ... Dr. Foulkes


Eva Khatchadourian is trying to piece together her life following the "incident". Once a successful travel writer, she is forced to take whatever job comes her way, which of late is as a clerk in a travel agency. She lives a solitary life as people who know about her situation openly shun her, even to the point of violent actions toward her. She, in turn, fosters that solitary life because of the incident, the aftermath of which has turned her into a meek and scared woman. That incident involved her son Kevin Khatchadourian, who is now approaching his eighteenth birthday. Eva and Kevin have always had a troubled relationship, even when he was an infant. Whatever troubles he saw, Franklin, Eva's complacent husband, just attributed it to Kevin being a typical boy. The incident may be seen by both Kevin and Eva as his ultimate act in defiance against his mother. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mummy's little monster...

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violence and behavior, some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

21 October 2011 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

We Need to Talk About Kevin See more »


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,587, 11 December 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,738,692, 20 May 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Tilda Swinton became involved as a producer long before she decided to star in the movie. See more »


At the Christmas party in Eva's workplace a cigarette is put out by sticking it into a Christmas cake. At first we see it being put right next to an elf figure but then after the camera zooms out we see it on the other side of the cake. See more »


[repeated line]
Eva: Franklin, where are you? Pick up the goddamned phone!
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Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »


Referenced in You're the Worst: Fog of War, Bro (2017) See more »


Farewell to My Concubine
Performed by Liu Fang
Used by permission
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The title tells what the mother should have done
29 May 2012 | by bobbobwhiteSee all my reviews

But, she never did it, nor did the clueless father. I immensely disliked the film's subject matter and the stupidity of its main characters, and that made it a slow and aggravating slog for me to get through it, even as I realized that the filmmaker had to strongly provoke us to convey her true message with the intensity it deserved.

This is a story of a family with a very mentally ill son. The son's psychopathology was clearly evident at 2-3 years of age, but it was never medically addressed by the parents or professionals. I blame the real possibility of this kind of travesty on our overly rewarding, totally supportive American parental/educational society of today, where little a child does is ever seen as wrong, no matter what, and often even seen as "special" and to be rewarded. The sick kid in this film never once was tested by a child shrink or doctor who could have easily seen where he was headed and committed him to a suitable medical facility where he would not be a danger to others. But, no, the parental attitude of "he is my son, so he must be wonderful" prevailed and the film's constant "rub the viewer's face in abject parental stupidity" eventually aggravated me to the point that I hope the same reaction I had was in every viewer, in the hope that society-devastating child psychopathology can be better detected and controlled. My hope is that it shocks parents into being smarter and having any weird kids such as this one analyzed early on to protect others, instead of protecting them by doing nothing. In old historical times, parents used to chain up seriously mentally ill kids for life, or merely kill them early on. Have we really progressed much by not doing the modern equivalent of that? Look what finally happened in the story and may happen in real life as a result of doing nothing, and it is clear that we may not have progressed much. What the clueless parents eventually got for their ignorant indulgence could be seen by many as just desserts.

I do dislike overly choppy, disjointed, and out-of-sequence story lines, and this one-note story was eventually offputting due to that, but not to the point where it negatively affected the film's serious message. I wish that it could be done differently, with less irritation/aggravation, but it surely hit harder due to how much it angered us about incompetent parenting. And, I trust that the message is crystal clear to all viewers, especially parents. It really could happen to you, and to all of us as a society.

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