Morvern Callar

It's Christmas, and Morvern Callar's husband just committed suicide. He left her with some money and instructions on sending his finished novel to various publishers in hopes of getting in print. So begins Morvern Callar, the new film from Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Gasman). Morvern Callar is similar in many ways to Ratcatcher, in that it is less a film that starts at point a and goes to point b, and more about moods and images. It can be feel interminably long at times, and difficult to follow, but is still an interesting experience. It also revolves around somebody who is dealing with death in a morally ambiguous way; a way that many people would think is shocking. Callar (Samantha Morton, Minority Report, Eden) deals with her husband's death by pretending it didn't happen. She lives her life in something like a strange dream.

Morvern Callar is based on the novel by Alan Warner, and adapted by Ramsay and Liana Dognini. The movie follows Callar, who initially looks like she is in shock. She has no clue what to do, so she goes on with her life like nothing happened. She tells her friend Lanna (Kathleen McDermott) that he left, and now she has the apartment to herself. All the while, his bloody body lays on the floor. At some point, she makes an internal choice that is along the lines of "screw it." She disposes of his body, changes the name on his manuscript to hers, then goes off to Spain with Lanna on holiday.

This is not the way that a grieving widow would normally act. Callar is in her own little world, oblivious to the fact of what is going on around her. The daze of alcohol and casual sex are much more appealing than anything in the real world. In this fashion, Ramsay films much of what happens like a dream, and the results feel almost Dogma-like at times. There isn't much ambient music, and the lighting looks minimal, giving Morvern Callar a 'gritty' feel to it. As usual, Morton is very good in her role. What is missing is some 'meat' to the film. To the people around her, Callar seems like a normal person on vacation, looking for some fun. To the viewer, the more she does, the more horrified they are at her actions, or lack of emotions for the traumatic experience.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 37 minutes, Not Rated but contains nudity, sexuality, and language, an easy R, possibly an NC-17

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