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Morvern Caller

The first day of the rest of your life

Twentysomething Morvern Callar (Samantha Morton, The Sweet and Lowdown) wakes up Christmas Morning to find her boyfriend face down on the floor, dead after cutting his own wrists. What to do?

Morvern is a small town Scottish girl who works at the local supermarket. She does what most girls in her position would do. She opens her Christmas presents, smokes a few grits, eats some ecstasy, and goes out partying with her friends. When she returns home her boyfriend is still dead, the floor still covered with his blood, and we get the feeling that while Morvern was trying to go on with life as usual with the night before's party, it hasn't worked. He's still dead.

The computer screen glows with large-font letters: READ ME. From beyond the grave, Morvern's boyfriend tells her that he's left her money for a funeral and his unpublished novel, with instructions as to which publishers she should solicit. Morvern changes the author's name to her own and goes about submitting the manuscript. She also goes about cutting up the author's body, depositing the remains in a field, and using the funeral slush fund to take her best friend Lanna on a holiday to Ibiza.

Lanna and Morvern, as it turns out, couldn't be more different. Lanna loves to ingest chemicals and slut around with fools. Morvern is as quiet and expressively immersed in her own thoughts as she was back in Scotland. She quickly tires of the party scene in the Spanish resort town, and her travels with Lanna end predictably (though without the negative connotation of that word).

On the book front, the publishers love it and fly down to Spain to discuss a deal with Morvern. With a lucrative deal in her pocket and her whole life ahead of her, Morvern is released, able to fly away forever.

Morvern Callar is the sophomore effort from director Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher), and it seems that she is still experimenting with several techniques. There are some great transitionary shots involving music Morvern listens to on her new Walkman, music from a mix tape her boyfriend left her for Christmas. Also, the scenery shots are great, and cinematographer Alwin Kuchler uses a range of interesting light filters throughout the film.

On the negative side, one could surmise that the film itself was handed a severe beating by the Artsy Montage Stick. Ramsay over-uses an array of silent montages, rave montages, ecstasy rolling montages, montages that include the girls walking, bathing montages, montages that contain montages, montages that play poker and drink beer. Still, the film carries itself well, and the performance by Samantha Morton as the quiet, introspective protagonist is nearly perfect.

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Morvern Callar
Not Rated
1 hour 37 minutes

Samantha Morton
Kathleen McDermott
Linda McGuire
Duncan McHardy
Dolly Wells