9 September 2013

Morvern Callar

Morvern Callar 2002
  • Director: Lynn Ramsey
  • Based on book: by Alan Warner
  • Cast: Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Samantha Morton  Elizabeth the Gold Age, The Libertine, In America, Jane Eyre
  • Why? Sounded good. Samantha Morton
  • Seen: September 1, 2013

 “Surrounded by donkeys and cactus” is not what Morvern’s friend Lanna expected. I agree.  I bought this DVD because I have a soft spot for supermarket workers, having been one myself, because Samantha Mortenson is good and because I tend to like movies about Scotland. I’m expecting a Ken Loach-Mike Leigh kind of grim social realism.
It starts out grim enough. Morvern finds her boyfriend dead on the kitchen floor in the opening scenes. He’s killed himself. There are a lot of slow close up shots of Morvern’s shocked face.  What would you do?  The obvious answer probably isn’t go to a Christmas party, get drunk and laugh a lot, tell your best friend he’s left you, go home and get rid of the body, send his novel to a publisher under your own name, take money out of his account and go on a booze-drug-disco-party charter trip to Spain with Lanna.
But that’s what she does.  Never mind how they end up surrounded by donkeys and cactus. They do.
I’m not sure how to react to this film. There’s a lot of laughing and goofing around but it’s not funny. There’s a lot of good music but it’s not “cool” (“This year’s coolest film” according to Sight & Sound).  The Guardian calls it a “genuine masterpiece.” Maltin calls it “poignant.”
It probably is. This is a case of me expecting something totally different and it taking awhile – the whole movie as a matter of fact – to really get into it.
Is it a happy ending? I don’t know.  What do you think?
It’s a must-see-again-to-figure-it-out film. And Samantha Morton is, as always, tremendous.

3 ½ * of 5

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