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 We Need to Talk About Kevin  

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The movie I chose to watch is a 2015 psychological thriller directed by Lynne Ramsay, titled, We Need to Talk About Kevin. We Need to Talk About Kevin is about a strange boy named Kevin who has antisocial personality disorder. Kevin says many dangerous things as he grows up affecting his mother and others around him, but the crime he commits, in the end, is unimaginable. One day, Kevin murders his sister and father, then proceeds to shoot up his school. No one knows what Kevin’s motive was. The three themes I will be addressing from this movie are Nature vs. Nurture, depression, and attachment. 

My goal is to provide a compelling analysis for each of these themes to better understand the psych meaning behind this fictional film. The first theme is Nature vs. Nurture. In psychology, Nature implies to the genetic makeup of a person, while nurture is the environment’s influence on the individual. Nature vs. Nurture is an ongoing controversial topic that questions whether human behaviors, attitudes, and personalities are genetic factors or learned characteristics. This theme was not only displayed but could be examined throughout the entirety of this film. For example, Kevin’s mother, Eva, was very uncomfortable, awkward, and quiet around him. She rarely showed him any affection and may have been quick-tempered at times. There was a scene in the movie where Eva got so upset with Kevin that she threw him across the room, breaking his arm. Researchers who believe in the idea of “nurture only” will say Kevin’s upbringing is the reason why he turned out to be a violent individual. 

On the other hand, Kevin displayed signs of a sociopath and blank detachment in his early toddler years by purposely refusing to potty train, speak, and acknowledge his family’s existence. Nonetheless, this film never resolved the debate and may support the ideas of those who move toward the more middle ground and might believe that Kevin’s actions are the cause of an underlying genetic basis for human thought and behavior that “resulted from millions of years of evolution.” Those genes can take a variety of forms, based on interactions with natural and social environments (Garcia, 1). The second theme is depression. 

The character who endured depression the most was Kevin’s mother, Eva. After Kevin commits mass murder on school grounds, Eva could barely sleep and is forced to live with shame around town. Everyone she knows begins to treat her like she doesn’t deserve to live, and she soon starts to believe that herself. There was a scene where Eva was buying groceries, and as soon as she saw a mother of one of the school’s murder victims, she fled. There was another instance where someone randomly walked up and slapped her. When a man tried to assist her after witnessing the assault, she replied: “it’s fine, I deserve it.” Eva’s actions are well-known signs of depression because she suffers from restless sleep, hopelessness, and guilt. The last theme is attachment. In 1870, Ainsworth concluded that there were three major types of attachment among infants. They are secure attachment, ambivalent-insecure attachment, and avoidant-insecure attachment. 

Out of all three, Kevin displayed mostly avoidant-insecure attachment. This type of attachment occurs when infants see their experiences with their caregiver as negative. From the time Eva found out she was pregnant, she was not happy. She knew she wasn’t ready for motherhood. Due to this, Eva never allowed herself to show Kevin the unconditional love and attention a baby needs. Therefore, Kevin grew up to have no relationship with Eva and often set out to make her life more difficult. In conclusion, We Need To Talk About Kevin was a psychological, emotional rollercoaster that challenged many themes such as Nature vs. Nurture, depression, and attachment. For one, the question of whether Kevin’s anger came from his mother was never answered. Although she wasn’t the perfect mom, Kevin is more a disturbed individual then her actions could have made. The film also highlighted depression and how profoundly it can affect an individual resulting in them to become self-absorbed, gloomy, and hopeless. Lastly, the film showed many memories from Kevin’s past dating back to when he was an infant to support the idea that every child needs to feel secure and safe to be able to trust people in their adulthood.  

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