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Morvern Callar 2002
Description: Morvern Callar wakes on Christmas morning to explore that her troubled boyfriend has committed suicide, leaving behind the unpublished manuscript to his first novel and a sum of cash intended to pay for his burial. Instead, Morvern attempts to test both to reinvent her life.
Released: 01 Nov 2002 Director: Lynne Ramsay Writers: Lynne Ramsay (screenplay by), Liana Dognini (screenplay by), Alan Warner (novel) Actors: Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott, Paul Popplewell, Ruby Milton Genres: Drama
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Morvern Callar Reviews:

Samantha Morton stars as a "morally ambiguous" young Scottish girl who seems to come into and go from her life and surroundings without the least bit of result from others or towards herself. I would almost label this movie an Existential effort, but the main character, "Morvern Callar", DOES occasionally seem to connect with someone or something… seem… Samantha Morton does a unbelievable job creating a hero that deserves no attention, yet keeps you watching. Think of this storyline as one expressing Distances – Detachments – Disabled Psyches. Her reactions seem consistently inappropriate – ill timed for the moment. Her socialization gene was stunted at birth. Life, for better and worse, is tiny more than water off her back. She's not being mean, she's not being ironic, she's not being moody. She's just not being. (PS: If you have problem with Scottish accents, prepare to concentrate.)


I purveyed the comments on IMDB before deciding *first* to read the ebook and then watch the movie. I think this was the right move, and would strongly advise those so inclined to do the same. So, Samantha Morton may be the best silent movie actress of the 21st century. Her muteness in "Sweet and Lowdown" and "Minority Report" and actually here speaks volumes. Seriously though she took on an extremely hard hero to portray, one whose impenetrability is at her very essence, Ms. Morton made this hero seem real.Real, albeit alien. But then a degree of alienation I think comes with what I perceive as an existential novel and film. Initially in the book, I felt that Alan Warner, the author, was too removed from his main character...across chasms of gender and age.But as I read the book, and actually watch the film...it seems to me that Morvern is a person removed from herself. Many of us fill up our days, our thoughts and such online websites as this with words.Words....words...words. Morvern is almost sub-literate, her interaction with publishers in both ebook and movie is thus comical, in a sort of Chauncey Garner mode of just being there. Morvern's hero everytime lived through her senses more than her mind. As did her greatest "friend" who ultimately remains the satisfied hedonist.But Morvern...like the many insects shown onscreen...moves on, not with any important destination...she just moves for the sake of moving. I think that this ultimately is the light this movie brings. I can see how others cite grief as the focus; both the suicide that impels our story, and the hotel interlude near its crossing raise the spectre of death around Morvern.However, I see her as more absent than abjectly anguished in both of those pivotal scenes... This is the conundrum of Morvern Callar for me, while I'm attracted to such an existence, the fact that I consider it...means I'm already living more through mind than senses. If she's remote to herself, than that puts me at an even greater distance. I think this was underscored by the soundtrack switching from sound to softened sound to silence throughout.One word about the soundtrack, where's the Peter Brotzmann? Actually that's a sensory overload that shuts off my mind in favor of the senses. I was hoping more of the bands featured in the ebook would have made it to the film. I thought that the artists listed in the book, typically the heroes of college DJ's and another overthinkers made a remarkable contrast with Morvern's seeming simplicity.But there's more to her than meets the eye...and...the ear, the tongue, the nose, the skin...just as there's more to this movie than others' comments would indicate.7*/10* Again I encourage people read the ebook and then play the movie as a chaser of sorts to flesh it out.


After all the hype that greeted Lynne Ramsay's first film, Ratcatcher, which I didn't see, I approached this with caution. The presence of Samantha Morton was my guarantee that it would at least be watchable, as she's never yet place a foot wrong on screen. And man was my faith rewarded! It's a long time since I've emerged from a cinema so entranced, and then started itching to see the movie again just a several hours later.Samantha Morton's performance is truly extraordinary, bringing to life this mysterious, inscrutable girl who is at the same time very alive and in-your-face, not out of zone getting smashed at a party, yet seeming like an alien as she wanders around listening to her walkman with a dazed 1000 yard stare. I was amazed to read that Kathleen McDermott, who plays her greatest friend, is a non-professional; it tells a lot for her performance that she holds her own opposite such a stellar talent - and also tells a lot for the naturalism and generosity of Morton's performance.Some critics have been much exercised by the implausibilities in the plot (around the fate of her boyfriend's body and the dealings with the publisher, for example). I don't care about all that stuff! This movie is as far away from gritty realism as it's possible to get. Go with the flow and soak up the atmosphere is my advice.You may read that this movie is beautifully photographed, that each shot is a tiny work of art, exquisitely composed and framed. If not, you've just read it from me. That's all very well, of course - they tell the same things about Peter Greenaway, who as far as I'm concerned would have been burnt at the stake in a more civilised age. The difference here is the warmth and seeming spontaneity of Lynne Ramsay's work. I didn't hear a voice shouting "look at me, aren't I beautifully filmed??". She doesn't say us, she just shows us, revealing a gift for finding beauty in the mundane.The another stroke of genius in this movie is the soundtrack - and I don't just mean the music, although that is brilliantly chosen, revealing a trace of gallows humour in the film's grisliest scene; no, just the test of sound, the method we can hear everything, even the cockroach scuttling along the hotel room floor; and the method some of the conversations fade in from a distance, but in such a method that we can still just about hear what is being said.For once, the hype is justified: Lynne Ramsay is the true deal, and Samantha Morton deserves other Oscar nomination for this breathtaking performance. Unreservedly recommended. So there.



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