Morvern Callar

Review Date:
Director: Lynne Ramsey
Writer: Lynne Ramsey, Liana Doznini
Producers: George Faber, Charles Pattinson, Robyn Slovo
Samantha Morton as Morvern Callar, Kathleen McDermott as Lanna, Linda McGuire as Vanessa
A girl wakes up to find her boyfriend having committed suicide on Christmas morning, leaving her with some presents along with a completed manuscript. The girl, distraught by the tragedy, escapes to the streets with her best friend, then decides to change the name on the manuscript to her own and send it off to book publishers. As the novel gains interest, she decides to take off to Spain with her friend in search of…well, herself, I suppose. PS: Morvern Callar is her name!
You know when someone starts telling you this really great story and you sit down, get enraptured by what they’re saying and hang on to their every word until they start dragging the story out or going off into tangents and ultimately rambling on and on about nothing until pretty much every single word out of their mouth feels like a minute long and every one of their gestures makes you want to jump across the table and strangle them until they shut their annoying traps and end their goddamn useless story already?? Well, consider that and consider MORVERN CALLAR (easily, an early favorite to win “Worst Title of the Year” award) starting off with a really great premise but then downshifting into a pretentious, random, uninspired, boring, incomplete and entirely unoriginal story which ultimately made me feel like scratching the eyes out of every single character on screen. To note, the film only features two main characters anyway, one of which is a Scottish skank who likes to drink, sleep around and take drugs, while the other girl, well…likes to drink, sleep around and take drugs– but her boyfriend also killed himself the night before. The worst part is that these types of “indie” flicks, the ones featured, adored and stroked over by “real” film critics at film festivals around the world, are sometimes considered to be slow, boring and hard to grasp by certain “average moviegoers” because they tend to concentrate more on character exposition, development and growth. Well, MORVERN CALLAR doesn’t even do that!

I’ve seen more character development in an Adam Sandler movie. C’mon!!! Who’s kidding who here? This film is loaded with these girls’ completely random and uninteresting day-to-day events, almost no dialogue or meaningful conversations between anyone and zero sympathy for the leads, both of whom come off as whining, self-involved sluts. Why the heck am I supposed to give a rat’s ass about these ladies, or better yet, why would anyone want to invest their hard-earned dollars into a film that provides very little of anything, other than a great way to develop a headache real fast. How anyone could take a premise so ripe, an actress with as much talent as Morton (mucho nude throughout) and an obvious skill behind the camera (the film features a couple of really awesome rave scenes, as well as an excellent use of soundtrack) and end up with something so exceptionally grating, so unbearably lifeless and so indelibly pretentious, is beyond me. How about tossing some of the deceased’s novel into the mix? How about explaining even the slightest one of the lead’s actions? (is she insane?) How about giving us a little more than 97 minutes of “subtext” or an ending that’s about as obvious and expected as any other “Hollywood” film? Yeah, I’m not your typical “art house” movie lover, but I’ve been known to fall for a number of lesser commercial films (most of my faves are actually of this variety), but this flick is just plain bad. Having said that, if elongated scenes featuring Morton staring at insects or caressing a branch “do it” for you…dig right in! Also, if any of you get off on watching a couple of idiots drink, take drugs and have promiscuous sex over a period of a week, drop by the head office sometime and let us save you the hassle of dumping your moolah on this shite. Or better yet, keep your money and donate it to the Preservation of Film Society but only if they promise NOT to preserve this film!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

Morvern Callar