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Regina Weinreich

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Mother's Worst Nightmare: Ezra Miller in Another Happy Day and We Nave to Talk About Kevin

Posted: 11/18/11 05:31 PM ET

It was an unexpected Ezra Miller film festival; two movies premiering back to back this week, co-starring this gifted 19-year-old in roles that might give new parents pause. He's got this character nailed, the disaffected, edgy son with degrees of menace. Naturally the films in question, Sam Levinson's Another Happy Day and Lynne Ramsey's We Have to Talk About Kevin are all about the formidable moms, played by Ellen Barkin and Tilda Swinton.

Sam Levinson's debut film, following in his father's awesome footsteps, will remind viewers of Jenny Lumet's accomplished Rachel Getting Married. With a wedding ante-ing up the hysteria factor, Ellen Barkin, alongside the superb Ellen Burstyn as her own mother, the family matriarch, grimaces her way through a rehearsal dinner from hell and a ceremony involving a cad of a first husband (Thomas Haden Church, born to this role) and his hot wife (Demi Moore, ditto). In the penultimate scene, her drug-addled son (Ezra Miller) competes for attention by drifting across the Potomac in a tube raft.

At the Top of the Standard afterparty, hosted by Julianne Moore , guests including proud dad Barry Levinson, and John Cameron Mitchell, Julian Schnabel, Patricia Clarkson, Sandra Bernhard, Amanda Seyfried, Richard LaGravanese, and Celia Weston applauded Sam's efforts. But this is Ellen Barkin's next moment. As a shrink in Larry Kramer's historic drama, The Normal Heart, revived on Broadway earlier this year, Barkin's performance garnered a Tony nomination. For Another Happy Day, expect an Oscar nod.

The next night, for We Need to Talk About Kevin, Ezra Miller in a dapper vintage velvet jacket greeted partiers rooftop at the Hotel Chantelle. Fortunately it was easy to see that this teen had little in common with the Kevin in this indy film, a raw and riveting achievement by Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsey based on a novel by the American writer Lionel Shriver, now residing in London. Do you think white or black is the absence of color, Miller asked Julie Taymor. Nearby, Tilda Swinton, sporting an asymmetrical hairdo and three gorgeous rings by Pomellato, chatted with John Lithgow, Parker Posey, and Rampart director Oren Moverman.

The Peggy Siegal Company hosted both splendid premieres.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.