WNTTAK is not a “feel good” movie. It’s just the opposite. But if you miss it, you will miss Tilda Swinton delivering one of 2011’s best acting performances.
Tilda plays a woman for whom motherhood is not a happy experience. Baby Kevin makes noise. Child Kevin is a pill. Teenage Kevin is not unlike how one might imagine Rosemary’s Baby would’ve turned out.
Is Kevin a mental case or just a bad person? Did Tilda’s mothering cause him to turn out the way he did? OR did Kevin’s demeanor trigger something in Tilda? Is she brave or a fool for staying in her community after Kevin commits a violent act? These are among the questions the movie asks but does not answer completely.
John C. Reilly stars as Kevin’s father, but does not share the deep anguish that controls Tilda’s very being from the moment of Kevin’s birth.
Director Lynne Ramsey creates tension and signals alarm with her not-at-all-subtle use of the color red.
WNTTAK will not leave you unaffected. You are likely to be more greatly affected if you are a parent. Tilda’s character’s pains and frustrations are immense. Most parents have had similar feelings, but never on so grand a scale. Let Tilda Swinton show you—in her great performance—just how bad it can get.
Irrelevant trivia note: WNTTAK is the only movie I have ever seen with a credit for a “guinea pig costumer.”