Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We Need to Talk About This Movie!

The first thing that crossed my mind after my Facebook friend Josh posted the trailer for the movie We Need to Talk About Kevin (out since October 21 in the UK, due next month in the U.S.) was what a strange career Tilda Swinton has had. Major roles in minor (read: indie) films and minor roles in major ones, most of them brilliantly executed but only one nominated for an Oscar.

Next to Marisa Tomei (who costarred with Swinton's Kevin hubby, John C. Reilly, in the great under-heralded 2010 film Cyrus), she's the actress most deserving of a big juicy lead role in a high-profile film by an awards-bait director like Alexander Payne, David Fincher (who did cast Swinton in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Darren Aronofsky (who directed Tomei to her third best supporting actress nomination in The Wrestler). I'm so tired of getting Tomei for just a few scenes here and there. Please, let that girl take the lead for once!

As for Swinton, over the years, she's offered so many amazing performances (my personal favorite, up to now, is The Deep End, for which she at least was Golden Globe nominated, and her blink-and-you-might-miss-her-or-not-recognize-her appearance as one of Bill Murray's possible baby mamas in Broken Flowers was a true guilty pleasure), yet she won her Oscar for what must have been one of her less challenging ones.

I adore George Clooney, and I loved Michael Clayton, but in 20 years, when Swinton is accepting her Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes (yes, a guy can dream) will that be the performance for which she's best remembered? (Of course, from Grace Kelly in The Country Girl to Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line, Oscar is always going home with actresses for all the wrong reasons, and movies.)

The second thing that crossed my mind while screening the trailer for the first time was it's about time that indie cinema joined the controversial nature vs. nurture debate in a creative, intelligent way. I'm not sure how I feel about sins of the father or the whole blame-it-all-on-the-mother approach in psychotherapy, but looking at the trailer, I'm reminded that even the worst monsters begin life as human beings.

It would be too easy and simplistic to blame parental rearing for all of the future actions of children and probably misguided to say that killers are born that way, but as my mother -- who didn't raise any fools, or murderers, despite my recent post about my vigilante fantasies -- used to say, where there's smoke, there's fire. It's important to always be on the lookout for signs, when driving and when raising children. I'm glad that a movie is finally going there, getting inspiration from current events without lazily recreating the scene of a sensational headline-grabbing crime.

And isn't using the happy-go-lucky Buddy Holly classic "Everyday" as incidental music in the trailer so deliciously subversive? Even without Swinton, that alone might have put the film on my must-see list.

I look forward to another fine Swinton performance and the lively dialogue that will no doubt ensue and continue long after another Oscar season has come and gone.

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