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Friday 21 October 2011, 18:17

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

I've been thinking a lot about Lynne Ramsay's new film We Need To Talk About Kevin and how it fits into a sub-genre that really interests me - movies that explore a strange fear of children and young people. Just why is it that we seem to be afraid of our own kids?

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    Comment number 1.

    I have this hypothesis that it has to do with the nature of children as unformed potential people. There's an inherent uncertainty as to how they will turn out. It could go either way: little angels, or little devils. How many people do you know, under 40, named Damien?

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    Comment number 2.

    I think the root of paedophobia has to do with dependancy, as babies children are dependant on their parents. As they get older that dependancy diminishes to the point where the balance of power tips over to the child and the parent becomes insecure. To use the analogy "baby alligators, grow into great big alligators".

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    Comment number 3.

    Maybe it's a kind of fear of the unknown (as Brian more or less says above) - after all, who can remember exactly how they thought as a child? Maybe there's something inherently alien about children, because we'll never be able to relate to them in the same way that we can relate to other adults?

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    Comment number 4.

    I'm not quite sure that We Need To Talk About Kevin fits into paedophobia and the fear of children. I think it has a much more deeply provocative theme: the hatred of children. Throughout the film Eva shows a loathing for her child, even at the end when everything is revealed, she still hates Kevin, not fear him.

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    Comment number 5.

    I was about to launch into a waffle about how Alien could be seen as paedophobic, but then I remembered that it isn't.


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