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Lynne Ramsay's MORVERN CALLAR (1 Viewer)

Nathan V

Supporting Actor
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Jul 16, 2002
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For those of you who don't yet know, Morvern Callar is Scotish director Lynne Ramsay's second feature film. her first was Ratcatcher, now available from the Criterion Collection. Morvern Callar is based on the cult novel written by (something) Warner. stars Samantha Morton (Minority report) and has been getting raves from critics everywhere since it debuted at (I think) Venice film festival last year.
I caught this last night in a sold-out theatre and was quite impressed. It's essentialy about a woman, incidentally named Morvern Callar, trying to deal with her boyfriend's suicide. Believe me, whatever you're expecting, this isn't it. Definitely not a plot-driven film. It focuses on details, on the value of life from the point of view of someone drifting through it; thus, there's no beginning, middle, or end. High points include acting, music, atmosphere, and some cinematography. There's some terrific, but short strobe-light sequences, like in City of God. I think some of the HTF crowd would get a kick out of it. If you're into indie fare, I suggest checking it out.

Regards,
Nathan
 

Vickie_M

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Dec 31, 2001
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My (fairly negative) thoughts on this movie are better left unsaid, but I will say that Samantha Morton is a brilliant actress, and Lynne Ramsay is a unique voice in movies today. I loved Ratcatcher and I can't wait to see what she does next.
 

Bill Harris

Stunt Coordinator
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Apr 1, 2001
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Ebert's review of this film has an error in it.

Which doesnt seem very shocking as he seems to be doing that a lot lately.

The error is in the line about Morvern and her friend taking the trip to Spain.
 

Elizabeth S

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I had high, high hopes for this one -- sounded like an intriguing premise. I REALLY disliked this film. I need a movie to either touch my heart or engage my mind and this one did neither. I wanted, and expected, to feel compassion for Morvern -- the way she was portrayed and written, however, does not invite this. Just a frustrating, unfulfilling viewing experience.
 

Vickie_M

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Dec 31, 2001
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I had high, high hopes for this one -- sounded like an intriguing premise. I REALLY disliked this film. I need a movie to either touch my heart or engage my mind and this one did neither. I wanted, and expected, to feel compassion for Morvern -- the way she was portrayed and written, however, does not invite this. Just a frustrating, unfulfilling viewing experience.
Characters often do things that are inexplicable and it usually doesn't bother me a bit. People are unpredictable. I also hate it when other people say "it should have been like this" or "the script should have had her do that" so what I think she should have done doesn't matter. She did what she did because that's how the writer wrote her and how Morton played her and how Ramsey directed her. I accept Morvern the character for what she was, but I hated her for it.

I love Samatha Morton and understand why she wanted to do this movie. She's a brave actress who isn't afraid to play hateful and unsympathetic characters like Morvern. I understand the raves it gets, but I'll take Ratcatcher any day. I also think that Lynne Ramsey is a unique voice in films today and can't wait to see what she does next.

On the plus side, it does have a great soundtrack, and I like the way they show Ibiza as not this beautiful, exotic getaway vacation hideaway wonderland, the way most movies would show it, but the side of it that's a dirty, ugly, low-budget/low-class traveler anti-paradise. It's like how clothes and domiciles take on the style and substance of the person, and that was extended to include Morvern's vacation destinations. I'd almost like to see a sequel, to see what happens to her. It couldn't be good, and I think I'd like that.
 

Nathan V

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 16, 2002
Messages
960
Great Post, Vickie. I actually like hearing opinions that conflict with mine; they force me to reevaluate my thoughts from a different stance.
In any case, it looks like I'd better go rent ratcatcher!
 

Lew Crippen

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May 19, 2002
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I find this movie very depressing. But well done. My initial reaction was quite negative, though I concede that the direction and acting is spot on. I now think that Ramsey has accomplished exactly what she intended and did it well.

For me, Morvern was a character who had almost no idea how to get through life. She was so emotionally deficient note the interaction with her friend’s grandmother—cleary what she wants is to be able to have some family with which to relate
that she has almost no friends (and no idea how to acquire any) and no real concept of how to have fun—either the mindless kind available at the Spanish resort in Spain, nor in the more carefree (we are supposed to believe real) Span. And she is so intellectually deficient and naive in the ways of the world, that she cannot imagine what she might do with her newfound fortune other than to replicate her failed adventure. Plus she is not shown to be particularly physically attractive.

BTW, Vickie, my take on her disposal of the body was that this was just one more area where she was unable to cope. She went so long with the body that there seemed to be no other option. I was not mad, just sad.

I have some other comments in the ‘Foreign and Independent film thread. You can see there, that I’m constantly revising my opinion of this film upward—which is usually an indication to me that I have seen a film of merit.
 

Chris_Richard

Supporting Actor
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Dec 3, 2001
Messages
515
I saw this film with a lot of friends. The reaction went from liking it to hating the film with really nothing in between. I was one of those that liked the film. This is due to while watching it I was quite engaged with what was happening. I loved Samantha Morton’s performance and both of those kept me interested in watching it.

I also knew beforehand that the book deal would be a success and I was anticipating seeing how that would play out knowing that Morvern was nowhere emotionally able to handle success.

I agree that this is not a “feel-good” film. It wasn’t as depressing as some other films have seen. I didn’t like the character Morvern Callar either. But, I was surprised at how many people I talked to hated the film just because of her actions. I was able to see her actions as her way of coping. She went into complete shut-down mode and this is the choice she made. Certainly not the choice 99.9% of everyone else would make.

The other complaint from friends was questions about things not fully explained. It was interesting that I just watched Taste of Cherry a couple of days before and both films have the same reactions. In one you have a man wanting to commit suicide and you have no idea why. Here you find a dead man and you have not idea why he killed himselfl People also wondered why Lanna and Morvern were friends. Having all of this answered might have explained more about Morvern and made a longer but a less interesting movie.
 

Lew Crippen

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Chris, for your friends who want explanations, I’d recommend that they read Camus, most particularly, The Myth of Sisyphus, which as I recall (and it has been a very long time since I have read any of the existentialists) begins, There is only one question to consider, and that is the question of suicide.

Of course understanding the existentialists is a bit of a task in and of itself. :D
 

Lew Crippen

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BTW Chris, my wife told me (she sat several rows behind me at the screening) that several persons walked out of that screening. I guess that they disliked the film even more than your friends.
 

Cary T

Screenwriter
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Feb 21, 2002
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I saw Morvern Callar several months back and really liked it. I'm just the type of person that didn't have a problem with what Morvern did. Lynne Ramsay's direction was superb in this film. But I agree with Vickie on one point, I'd take Ratcatcher any day. Ratcatcher has slowly grew on me and became one of my favorites.
 

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