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We Need to Talk About Kevin Review Critics


Dave White Profile

What not to expect when you're expecting. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Get ready for goosebumps. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    As a portrait of a deteriorating state of mind, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a masterful film.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The movie is creepy, but it has no texture or depth. It's like "The Omen" directed by Miranda July.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Bleak film about disturbed teen is difficult to watch.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that We Need to Talk About Kevin is a bleak drama that centers on a disturbed teen who commits a heinous act. The film's focus is on his mother and how she deals with the aftermath; it also portrays the tense atmosphere in their home as her son grows from a toddler to a high schooler, getting progressively more hostile. There's some swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t") and a few brief sex scenes (plus simulated masturbation), as well as several moments of intense violence, some of which involve a child and others of which include some blood. Most of the actual violence is off-screen, but these scenes are still quite intense, and the movie has a consistently creepy, gloomy atmosphere.

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays Kevin. Why do you think he was the way he was? Was he disturbed from the start? Does that make it any easier to accept that he'd do the things he did?
  • Is there anything positive to be found in this movie in terms of messages or role models? If not, why do you think the filmmakers chose to tell this story?
  • What is the impact of violence in We Need to Talk About Kevin? Is it more or less disturbing than what you'd see in a horror movie? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: There's little, if anything, that's positive in this bleak film about a family in which a deeply disturbed teen drives everyone around him to despair. Nobody is happy, nobody comes off well, and there's certainly not a happy ending.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Kevin is an unrelentingly hostile child and an even nastier teen who makes every scene in this film overflow with foreboding and gloom. His mother struggles to be supportive and positive but is often overwhelmed and lets her frustration show in the face of his complete contempt, which is obvious from almost the day he's born.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The film has more foreboding than actual on-screen violence, yet the atmosphere is so creepy and gloomy that the anticipation might be worse than in other films where viewers actually get to see comparable acts. A woman slaps another woman out of rage, and a frustrated mother slaps a disobedient toddler. She later throws the child across the room, breaking his arm. A young girl loses an eye in an off-screen accident, and a beloved pet guinea pig is dispatched in an unpleasant manner. (Again, it's off-screen but the oppressive atmosphere is still disturbing.) The disturbed child taunts his mother using harsh language and seems to lack all empathy. The film's culmination is a horrific school attack in which bloody teens are shown being wheeled out on stretchers.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A few scenes of a couple having simulated sex, with brief partial nudity. A teenage boy is shown from the chest up as he masturbates.

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent use of strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "ass," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A woman drinks plenty of red wine. Later, after a terrible tragedy, she increases her intake significantly, and there are plenty of corks and empty bottles littering her home, along with prescription pills.