Following her boyfriend's suicide, supermarket clerk Morvern Callar passes off his unpublished novel as her own. With the money her boyfriend left for his funeral, she leaves Scotland for ... See full summary »
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Following her boyfriend's suicide, supermarket clerk Morvern Callar passes off his unpublished novel as her own. With the money her boyfriend left for his funeral, she leaves Scotland for Ibiza where she travels with her closest friend. The journey prompts a series of internal and external transformations for Morvern-- ones which bring to light her experiences of grief, memory, freedom, and desire. Written by
Morvern Callar was the debut novel by Scottish author Alan Warner, first published in 1995. See more »
When Morvern changes the name on the manuscript, there is a shot of her hitting the "delete" key repeatedly, followed by a shot of the cursor at the end of her boyfriend's name, and the characters disappearing one by one from the end. In English versions of Windows (and Mac OS X), the "delete" key deletes characters after the cursor, not before it. Depending on the program and keyboard, "delete" could work like "backspace." See more »
So much that is good about it, but yet so much that is bad
Morvern comes home one day to find her boyfriend dead on the floor, having committed suicide. In an effort to help her get over his dead, he has left her a note, his money and his first novel - which he wants her to publish. Unsure what to do with herself, Morvern continues living her life, pretending she doesn't know where her boyfriend is; she puts her name on his book and submits it to a publishing house before taking his money and setting off to Spain for a holiday with her friend Lanna.
I taped this film and it became one of those films that I knew I'd never totally be in the mood for - it is always easier to watch some junky action movie on a wet, cold evening rather than something requiring thought. Also the reviews on this site seem to be split between `best film ever' and `worst film ever', something that is never a great sign. Anyway, I decided to watch it as I hoped it would be thought provoking and interesting. I had tried to watch Ratcatcher but had been turned off by it's failed attempts at insight or meaning and I was hoping that this film would either tone that down or actually make it work.
Sadly it didn't really do either. The plot is rambling and is more about Morvern's life and actions after her boyfriend's suicide forces her life to change. In this regard it is quite interesting in theory - Morvern appears to be tired of the life of empty clubbing etc and is looking for `somewhere beautiful' to live. As a look at her character the film interested me and the lack of `action' that some have bemoaned wouldn't have been a problem for me if it had done this well; but it doesn't. It is pretty meaningless and the film really does nothing to help you understand this character or what she is feeling or what she is going through. I am not adverse to films like this, but I do appreciate just a little bit of help in knowing what is going on! As it was, the film overdoes the meaningful shots and symbolism to the point that it left me needed to do just too much work to be able to be on the same page as it.
I realise that, for some, the idea that 20 people can watch it and each come out with 20 different films is a good thing - usually it is for me too, but I do prefer a film to have a firm structure or meaning to it - that will usually allow room for interpretation; but leaving the whole film to interpretation is an issue - especially when someone has gone to the problem of developing this character.why not use that rather than hiding it? Morton is really good and it is clear she knew her character and was well directed. She conveys quite a lot and her performance is one of her strongest I've seen. If only the film had backed her up instead of totally relying on her, mostly silent, performance to explain Morvern to the audience. Support from McDermott is also very confident and natural. The direction is quite good - good use of space and location, some clever shots and most of it does look quite beautiful. The only problem I have with Ramsay is that she seems determined not to help anyone get into her film - she uses way too much heavy meaning, metaphors etc and doesn't support them with anything real.
Overall this was still an interesting film but also a frustratingly empty and hollow one. The heart of the story has been twisted to deliver lots of `deep' insight and symbolism but yet nothing is left on the surface to act as our way in. Morton tries really hard to deliver audience understanding but it is too much for her to do it alone. Worth a look simply because it may connect with you and you will be in the `best film ever' camp, but be warned it could as easily have you bored out of your skull. For me, it interested me and made me think but Ramsay did too good a job at shrouding her story in arty pretensions to allow an idiot like me to be part of it. A shame.
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