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Morvern Callar


Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Lynne Ramsay 
Starring: Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott, Linda McGuire  
An image from Morvern Callar

Sometimes the old adage about quality and quantity is true, and this is certainly the case with Lynne Ramsay. So far she has only four feature films to her name, but all have received their fair share of acclaim and influence, and have led to collaborations with actors like Tilda Swinton and Joaquin Phoenix. Morvern Callar, though, is an earlier effort from Ramsay; stripped-down, low budget, and fixated throughout on the hypnotic presence of Samantha Morton. The same year as she starred alongside Tom Cruise in the glossy gleam of Minority Report, Morton is radiant as the titular Morvern, a quiet shelf-stacker in a small Scottish town. When finding her boyfriend’s body in the bathtub on Christmas morning, her life goes into freefall: Ramsay’s poetry heightens the situation out of mere misery, echoing the weightless trance of grief that Morvern slips into. Submitting the boyfriend’s final draft of a novel to publishers, as per his suicide note, the film’s only dramatic hook opens more questions than it answers–what can she expect out of this, and how does it reflect on the relationship they shared? Morvern takes a friend to Spain with the money that was left behind, and once again the plot consequences float free as the film builds its feelings out of suggestion and atmosphere. But what an experience it is to see, with some startling music choices and a performance for the ages in Samantha Morton.

Max King

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Screenings of this film:

2023/2024 Autumn Term (35mm)