Screened Mother

Provocative, courageous or alarming? Considering We Need to Talk about Kevin was written by a woman (Lionel Shriver) and directed by Lynne Ramsay (pictured below on the set of We Need to Talk about Kevin) and co-produced by Tilda Swinton, how does Eva (portrayed by Swinton) fit into the current landscape of women’s characters on the big screen?

Here’s a small sample of Eva’s existence after Kevin’s horrific crime. Motherhood questioned.


The author, the actress, the director

Is Eva a bad mother? Is she too hard on herself, or is she not hard enough? Author Lionel Shriver, Tilda Swinton and director Lynne Ramsay share their perspectives on We Need to Talk about Kevin. If you’re not familiar with the story – there are major spoilers in these interviews, nevertheless you might find their insights that much more intriguing. These three women have strong views about this story. Do you agree with them?

Interview with Lionel Shriver


Tilda Swinton and director Lynne Ramsay interview part 1


Tilda Swinton and director Lynne Ramsay interview part 2

Tilda transforms into Eva

Tilda Swinton has always been known for taking challenging female roles. From starring in  Sally Potter’s film adaptation of Virginia Wolf’s classic novel Orlando, to playing Russian aristocrat in I Am Love, to her Oscar winning role in Michael Clayton and not to mention becoming The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia, Tilda’s genius is evident. Now, that she’s embodied the guilt stricken Eva in We Need to Talk about Kevin – what is your take on Tilda personifying this fascinating character?

Tilda Swinton interview

Amazing, frank, confident and insightful -Tilda Swinton talks We Need to Talk about Kevin. Feel free to comment below🙂

What is your understanding of the story?


What attracted you to this role?


Your character Eva is quite complex, can you describe her in more detail?


What is your take on Eva and Franklin’s relationship?


How do you think Eva perceives what’s happening between her and Kevin?


From the original novel, to film adaptation and now posters, We Need to Talk about Kevin is being constantly reinterpreted across multiple mediums and cultures. This fascinating story gains a new meaning in every country it appears. What are your thoughts on the posters below and how they represent this story?

The original sales agent’s poster

Two UK posters

Australian poster

French poster

American poster

Eva’s motivation

Was Kevin born wicked, or was his cold heart the inevitable consequence of an unaffectionate mother? Do you think the answer to this classic ‘nature versus nurture’ debate—whether character is formed by environment or is innate—has to be one or the other?


Check out this article by Cambridge University Professor Simon Baron-Cohen who discusses Kevin’s case and his lack of empathy for others. What is your take on this issue?

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