Why? This is the story of a “bad seed,” a demon child who torments his poor mother from infancy through adolescence, while the father (played by John C. Reilly) remains blissfully unaware of his son’s malevolent nature. As a parent, I found the child’s hostile treatment of his good-hearted mother almost unbearably upsetting. And it never lets up.
It didn’t help that I had read a one-line synopsis that told me the outcome of the story. If you don’t know where it’s leading, you might derive some suspense from the narrative, adapted by Rory Kinnear and director Lynne Ramsay from Lionel Shriver’s novel, even though it is told through fragmented flashbacks. For me, knowing the ending—which I won’t give away, just in case—made me all the more impatient to get there and get it over with.
Others have heaped praise on We Need to Talk About Kevin, and they’re entitled to their opinions. I can only be honest in describing my reaction: watching this movie was sheer torture.