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Director Lynne Ramsay (L) and cast member Tilda Swinton attend a news conference for the film We Need To Talk About Kevin, in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, May 12, 2011.

YVES HERMAN / REUTERS

We Need to Talk about Kevin

  • Directed by Lynne Ramsay
  • Written by Lynne Ramsay and Rory Kinnear
  • Starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller

Lynne Ramsay ( Ratcatcher, Mo r vern Callar) has adapted Lionel Shriver's 2003 bestselling novel in a stylish shocker starring Tilda Swinton as the traumatized mother of a psychopathic son. Told in a complex, jigsaw puzzle of flashbacks, the story follows the ordeal of Eva (Swinton) before and after a school massacre. From failing to bond with her child at birth to an unhappy move with her husband (John C. Reilly) from New York to the suburbs, Eva's life has an arc worthy of a Greek tragedy. Ramsay provides a window into Eva's subjective world, filled with obvious symbols and splashes of red. But the psychological credibility is undermined by handsomely sneering Ezra Miller's performance as a kid so diabolical, his mom's name really should have been Rosemary.

Sleeping Beauty

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  • Directed and written by Julia Leigh
  • Starring Emily Browning

Australian director Julia Leigh's film is an icy modern fairy tale about a university student (Emily Browning) who takes a series of dull jobs waiting tables, collating copies and performing medical tests. She then goes from numb to comatose as a sex worker who goes under an anesthetic so that various rich old men can secretly do things to her. Shot mostly in single, long takes with minimal music and dialogue, the film inspires some skin-crawling moments before an abrupt ending that suggests the influence of Lars von Trier.

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