offoffoff film
 RELATED PROJECTS

      







 ADVERTISEMENT













Site links
  • OFFOFFOFF Home
  • About OFFOFFOFF
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
     
    Search the site:
     

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links


    Top 10 lists


  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies


  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue

    Festivals


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival

    Archive


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My F├╝hrer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro

  •  REVIEW: MORVERN CALLAR

    Morvern Callar

    The "Callar" barrier

    The strange story of a woman's personal journey in "Morvern Callar" is underserved by the film's unemotional tone.

    By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
    Offoffoff.com

    Christmas tree lights blink on and off with predictable regularity — red, white, red, momentarily illuminating the dimly lit Glasgow flat again, and again. A man lies face down on the floor, motionless. There is blackened blood on his cut wrists. A young woman curls up next to him, fetal like, in harmony with her recently deceased boyfriend who took his life this Christmas yet she is clearly conscious; alive. The bright white square of a computer monitor burning in the corner of the room reveals his epitaph, his suicide note to Morvern Callar, the woman on the floor, and the eponymous heroine of Lynne Ramsay's ("Ratcatcher") latest film.

      
    MORVERN CALLAR
    Directed by: Lynne Ramsay.
    Written by: Lynne Ramsay, Liana Doznini.
    Cast: Samantha Morton, Kathleen McDermott, Linda McGuire, Duncan McHardy, Dolly Wells.

    Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    Thus begins "Morvern Callar," an adept, focused, but strangely detached portrait of a young woman's journey to self-discovery that, alas, if it happens at all only really happens in her head.

    Over the course of the next few days, Morvern will hook up with her girlfriend Lanna, withdraw funeral arrangement money from her boyfriend's bank account, and use it to fund a pleasure trip for two to Spain, where two giddy girls get to party on down with little umbrellas in their drinks and little respect for the dead. But perhaps even more cruelly Morvern will also change the authorship of the novel her boyfriend wrote for her and submit it as her own for publication, a move that results in a first-time writer's contract of ú100,000 (and stretches the limits of credibility in the process).

    The first part of Ramsay's film is filled with hulking close-ups of Morvern, played with strength and authority by Samantha Morton (she was the mute to Sean Penn's jazz guitarist in Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown" and the watery psychic in "Minority Report"). She thinks, she smokes, she bathes, she thinks some more. If there are understandings, even revelations, to be had here, we are not privy to them. Morvern is like a ghost, stuck in neutral, crying for her loss. And when she can take it no more, she bags the body in bits and disposes of it.

    The film lightens up considerably when the girls head abroad, and where the relationship between Morvern and Lanna (Kathleen McDermott) is extremely well drawn, chummy and intimate in that way only girls know. It's clear the trip is supposed to be an existential journey for Morvern, one of revelation, perhaps even transformation, but we are never really allowed into Morvern's personal world, as the film's emotional and reactionary content is kept well at arm's length.

    One intriguing element of the film — one that works particularly well, in fact — is the way in which Morvern talks about her boyfriend (interestingly revealed to be better educated than she) to those, including Lanna, who aren't aware of his passing. She refers to him as being "at home" or "in the kitchen" when questioned about his whereabouts. She never lies about his condition, yet her words skirt the obvious issue with a resolved sort of ambiguity.

    Well intentioned but ultimately too aloof and pretentious for its own good, Morvern Callar will be noticed more for its bold central performance by Samantha Morton than for anything it might wish to reveal about the grieving process.

    MARCH 27, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Morvern Callar:

  • [no subject]   from Matt Buckland, Aug 1, 2003
  • Bizarr-o   from Mars, Jan 3, 2004
  • morvern callar   from pat, Jan 4, 2004
  • Re: morvern callar   from a.c., Jan 4, 2004
  • worth watching   from a.c., Jan 4, 2004
  • Morvern Callar   from Sylvie, Jan 14, 2004
  • music from the film   from annie, Mar 14, 2004

  • Post a comment on "Morvern Callar"