Jane Firehorse’s review published on Letterboxd:
kevin is a monster.
how could viewers not empathize with the mother in this film? partly that's due to tilda swinton's brilliant performance, the fabulous editing, and the way it's written to contrast past horrors with present ones. but it's also because i don't see any evidence in this film of an actual nature versus nurture debate. i know that's the common line, and certainly it's an idea that the book explores more explicitly. however, the way in which events are presented in the film suggests that the mother tries to nurture kevin, she tries - desperately - to reach out, to teach, and to love, but kevin rejects everything.
kevin is a nihilist of the first order. when she asks him why he'd have a disc that deliberately plants viruses in all of their computers, he replies "there is no point; that's the point."
the film amplifies this existential horror even further through the obliviousness of the father and its use of ironic musical commentary; scenes that are discomforting to begin with are made all the more so with music that speaks to them in an almost comical manner. but this is a horror at which you cannot laugh. the music doesn't bring levity; it increases the heavy, surreal nature of the situations. it widens the void: not just the one between the mother and everyone else, but the one in kevin's heart too. the effective use of music is matched equally by chilling moments of silence, by imagined clapping when kevin appears from the gym to take his bow, by the sound of the sprinklers when the mother learns that all, truly, is lost.
and of course the red. red is the colour of love, of connection, of blood, of violence and of danger; but kevin is all blackness by contrast.
has he changed at the end?
i have my doubts.
some people don't get redemption. perhaps the mother does, if only just a little, as indicated by her walk into the glaring white. however, after watching her life for nearly 2 hours, viewers know the haunting will never go away for this woman. for her, love really is a hole in the heart.