Sunday, February 22, 2015

Morvern Callar

The opening moments of Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Callar show the title character (Samantha Morton) caressing the body of her boyfriend who's committed suicide. The following scenes have her behaving as if nothing had happened. (She does have the occasional moment of silent grief.)

She and her friend Lanna (Kathleen McDermott) go to Spain as a means of personal escape. It's during this sudden vacation that Morvern makes an emotional discovery. Amid the debauchery, she realizes what she must do.

Morvern behaves in a similar manner to that of Eva, the protagonist of Ramsay's follow-up film We Need to Talk About Kevin. Both recently suffered personal tragedy and they try to carry on with their everyday lives. Though both face different reactions from others (Morvern innocent questioning, Eva vicious persecution), they end up as different people as a result. Very rarely is such a thing depicted in fiction for female characters.

A small detail of Morvern Callar is how the backdrops of the film are set up. Glasgow is featured in a muted palette whereas Spain is shown in a much brighter light. Clearly a way to establish the change in mood but Ramsay does it in a way that's effortless.

Morvern Callar is good though not as great as Ramsay's next film. Morton is also good (though she usually is regardless). All in all, you rarely see a female-led (or even female-directed) film focused on such a complex lead. More films like this please, Hollywood.

My Rating: ****

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