I rarely elect to sit on my big comfy chair to watch a movie, and instead I tend to “multi-task” while watching a film at home. This usually means watching movies while I’m surfing celebrity gossip sites on my laptop as I sit at my kitchen table.
Yesterday, I put on MORVERN CALLAR starring SAMANTHA MORTON from 2002. I became so engrossed in the story that I needed to move away from my computer and focus entirely on my television.
SAMANTHA MORTON as MORVERN CALLAR: source.
The film is directed and co-written by LYNNE RAMSAY, who is from Scotland. The two other screenwriters are LIANA DOGNINI and ALAN WARNER (who also wrote the book the film is based on).
I ended up coming across this film when I was looking up the actress DOLLY WELLS (who I’ve recently enjoyed watching on the HBO series DOLL AND EM) on IMDB.com. I saw the title MORVERN CALLAR and I clicked on the link to find out more.
The synopsis for the film explained that SAMANTHA MORTON’S character, named MORVERN CALLAR, comes home to find her boyfriend has killed himself in the apartment they share. He leaves behind a note and a copy of the novel he has written. He also asks her to send it off to the list of publishers he has provided. Morvern follows her deceased boyfriend’s directions, but she decides to put her own name on the book and to represent herself as the author of the novel.
SAMANTHA MORTON as MORVERN CALLAR: source.
I was feeling lonely yesterday. The strangest thing is that when I go searching for comfort (of the positive sort), I am usually able to find it. Watching this movie was just what I needed to be reminded that I am not alone.
This film reminds me of how important art is in my life. Seeing Morvern and her sad existence, as she feels totally isolated while trying to cope with her boyfriend’s suicide, immediately made me feel better about my sense of disconnect from others. The way Samantha Morton portrays Morvern is astounding, heartbreaking, and touching.
Morton’s portrayal of Morvern, and the depiction of this level of loneliness on film, reminds me that there are other people out there who think and feel in ways that are similar to how I do.
I cannot say that I can particularly relate to the details of Morvern’s life. I have never known anyone who has committed suicide, and I have never appropriated someone else’s work as my own. Nevertheless, as a viewer I felt sympathetic for Morvern. I have experienced abuse during my childhood. I can relate to wanting to escape and block-out reality when something bad and traumatic happens. All you want to do is forget about it, but Morvern chooses to take this initial response way too far. In a very real sense she is a villain, but a pitiful one at that.
What I know is that the only way things get better is by directly dealing with trauma and pain head-on. This is not something Morvern is capable of or willing to do. The effects of her decision to completely cover-up her boyfriend’s suicide, and to take credit for his artistic work, make it clear that she is not an innocent person. In fact she is quite sick and twisted in ways that I hope never to be.
MORVERN CALLAR: source.
There is a definite humanity that Morton brings to the role. She refuses to make Morvern into a caricature as a way of justifying her disturbing choices. How can I really know how I’d react to someone I love taking their own life? I hope I never have to experience finding a loved one dead in the home we share. So as Morvern tries to continue on and pretend as if nothing has happened, the film shows that she cannot escape the tragedy no matter how hard she tries.
I do not want to give away more plot details, but the film is somber and made me cry at times. Life is hard, and there is so much pain. It really is up to me to appreciate the moments I do feel good, because hard times are unavoidable. I knew SAMANTHA MORTON was a talented actress. I enjoyed her work in CONTROL and SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK. Now I am a huge fan. How she can show so much genuine sadness emitting from her eyes indicates she is an artist, or one who lives to perform in an authentic and realistic manner for the sake of others as well as herself.
I also watched another film called RATCATCHER written and directed by LYNNE RAMSAY. It is equally sad. A pre-teen boy named JAMES (played perfectly by WILLIAM EADIE) is rough-housing with his friend in the local pond when his friend accidentally drowns. James’ life is already hard enough, as he lives with his parents and two sisters in a housing project in Glasgow.
WILLIAM EADIE in RATCATCHER: source.
Though he did not cause his friends death, as he was already walking away from the pond while his friend was drowning, he feels guilty about the death. Like all of us, James searches for moments of happiness, and he finds companionship with an older girl named MARGARET ANNE (played beautifully by LEANNE MULLEN). The notion that childhood is a mere social construct created by middle to upper class people is blatantly obvious in this film.
I strongly recommend MORVERN CALLAR and RATCATCHER.