"We Need to Talk About Kevin” is based on Lionel Shriver's 2003 bestseller of the same name and it explores a broken family, mental illness, and who is to blame in the aftermath of a horrific tragedy. The film ends with the emotionally blank mother, Eva, visiting her son on the second anniversary of his crimes, but what does that exchange mean?
Eva Khatchadourian played by Tilda Swinton is a detached mother who has to navigate raising a defiant and spiteful son and a mother-son relationship that goes from annoyance to fear after Kevin does a horrific thing to their family pet. Neither parent punishes him or seeks outside help which begs the question: did they create a monster or was he born that way?
The ending of the film leaves Eva's fate up in the air because she has to pick up the pieces of her life and it is unclear whether she’ll be able to move on from something so traumatic. While the film isn't as explicit as the book, both versions of Eva wonder if it's even worth feeling weighed down by the question of responsibility.
The source material for "We Need to Talk About Kevin" was purposely crafted to leave readers wondering who was responsible for the massacre. While Eva is shown throughout the film to be indifferent toward her son, Kevin's actions are fueled by his desire to spite her, a cyclical pattern, which makes it impossible to hold just one person accountable.