Morvern Callar (2002)



Critic Consensus: Morton quietly makes this quirky, enigmatic mood piece a compelling watch.

Movie Info

A thriller set in a remote Scotland port town, centering around Morvern Callar, an impoverished supermarket clerk. When her writer boyfriend commits suicide, Morvern, covers it up. Immediately following his death, Morvern--who's always struggled to make ends meet--steals his unpublished novel, sells it under her own name, and uses the profit to take off for the Mediterranean where she lives the easy, hedonistic life of a raver--clubbing non-stop in Ibiza, Spain.

Rating: R (adult situations)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Liana Dognini, Lynne Ramsay
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 16, 2003
Cowboy Pictures - Official Site


as Morvern Callar

as Dazzer

as Couris Jean

as Welcoming Courier

as Tom Boddington

as Tequila Sheila

as Boy in Room 1022

as Welcoming Courier

as Guy with Hat's Mate

as Gypsy Taxi Driver

as Him/James

as Sick Girl/Bikini Gir...

as Green Boy 1

as Red Hanna

as Guy with Hat

as Rick, the American ...

as Swimming Pool Courie...

as Green Boy 2

as Creeping Jesus

as Spanish Mother

as Tom Boddington
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Morvern Callar

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (30)

Morton finds a wealth of nuance in anomie and neurasthenia.

July 19, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

A mesmerizing conundrum of a suspended life in perpetual motion.

Full Review… | July 16, 2003
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

A film about youthful confusion made without a moment of artistic immaturity or indecision.

Full Review… | June 5, 2003
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

With little dialogue to assist her -- just the strains of that wonderfully organic music -- [Morton] still manages to suggest the internal struggle, and to slowly reveal a fierce toughness that flies in the face of conventional morality.

Full Review… | May 30, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Maintains your sympathy for this otherwise challenging soul by letting you share her one-room world for a while.

Full Review… | May 30, 2003
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Even if both films are about accidental sinners, Morvern Callar turns out to be a very different, and more difficult, film than Ratcatcher.

Full Review… | April 18, 2003
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Morvern Callar


Soooooo slooooooow....

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

"Morvern Callar," the second feature film from British writer/director Lynne Ramsay (after 1999's heart-breaking and unfairly overlooked "Ratcatcher"), is an enigmatic film with almost no dialogue. It tells the story of a twenty-something supermarket clerk (played by the always intriguing Samantha Morton) who skates along the surfaces of life, going from party to party. Ramsay's artistic goals are hard to pinpoint, but one of them here seems to be a fairly scathing indictment of 1990s British youth culture.

Morton's character, named Morvern Callar, is a girl from a lower-middle-class background living in a small town in Scotland. She has a pleasant demeanor but little to say. She only hangs around with people her age, whose favorite pastime is all-night raves where drugs and alcohol flow liberally. Let's just say that reading books is the last thing on the minds of these 21-year-olds. Their greatest happiness is a feeling of oblivion. Ramsay may not like ravers very much, but she certainly gets them. The depiction of aimless youth is better here than I've probably seen anywhere.

The problem is that it doesn't make for very compelling viewing. Boring people don't often make arresting protagonists. Ramsay also doesn't push her agenda with much intensity. She starts to seem as bored with the film as the characters are bored with life. I like the basic idea of the project very much, and there is a haunting quality to the filmmaking, just like there was with Ramsay's previous film, "Ratcatcher." But Ramsay got stalled in the story development, never fully baking her ideas. Thus "Callar" has a sketchy, fragmentary quality to it that isn't very compelling.

There is one story thread that tightens up substantially at the tail end of the film involving a spectacular attempt at plagiarism and a dead boyfriend. The film would have been stronger had Ramsay focused on this more. She seemed determined to drain the movie of as much story as possible, when there were several threads begging for development.

There's no mistaking, however, that Lynne Ramsay is a talented, original, and genuinely artistic filmmaker. Even a weaker piece of work from her has more value in it than the mountain of prefabricated entertainment product being churned out in America. Cinephiles the world over owe it to themselves to cross paths with Ramsay's work. I'm very disappointed that she's had trouble getting a third film together. I wait with bated breath for her return to filmmaking!

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

Lynne Ramsay is a brilliant director and Samantha Morton is fantastic. Not for everyone but this is one of the best films of the 2000's so far!

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

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