Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom/Canada, 2002. Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Production, BBC Films, Film Council, Scottish Screen, The Glasgow Film Fund, BBC Scotland, National Lottery, H2O Motion Pictures, Company Pictures. Screenplay by Liana Dognini, Lynne Ramsay, based on the novel by Alan Warner. Cinematography by Alwin H. Kuchler. Produced by George Faber, Charles Pattinson, Robyn Slovo. Music by Maggie Bazin, Andrew Cannon. Production Design by Jane Morton. Costume Design by Sarah Blenkinsop. Film Editing by Lucia Zucchetti. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Morvern Callar (Samantha Morton) discovers her boyfriend’s body on the floor of their apartment, next to a computer that bears his suicide note and the novel he wrote before offing himself. She goes out, sees a few friends, comes back, goes out again, and still has no idea what to do about this latest development in her relationship. Then she springs into action, changing the author name on the novel to her own and submitting it to publishers, taking the money he left her for his funeral and using it to furnish a vacation to Spain for her and her best friend (Kathleen McDermott). Lynne Ramsay’s second feature is about a frustratingly unknowable character, one whose aimless emotions are constantly at odds with the director’s charge-ahead style of storytelling. Morton is herself a revelation, subtly brilliant and excellent at revealing the character’s inner life to the viewer while bewildering us with her unpredictable behaviour. Ramsay shows a lot of confidence as a filmmaker, and unlike a similar film like Carine Adler’s Under The Skin (also starring Morton) manages to make the grittier aspects of the experience feel like a natural part of the storytelling process instead of just being pretentiously unpleasant on purpose.