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Morvern Callar (2002)

tomatometer

84

Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 64 | Rotten: 12

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

89

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 3

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

audience

74

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 5,624

My Rating

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 Immediately following his death, Morvern--who's always struggled to make ends meet--steals his unpublished novel, sells it under her own name, and uses the profit to take off for the Mediterranean where she lives the easy, hedonistic life of a raver--clubbing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.

R,

Drama

Lynne Ramsay, Liana Dognini

Dec 16, 2003

Cowboy Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (89) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (12) | DVD (10)

Morton finds a wealth of nuance in anomie and neurasthenia.

July 19, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A mesmerizing conundrum of a suspended life in perpetual motion.

July 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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A film about youthful confusion made without a moment of artistic immaturity or indecision.

June 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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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.

May 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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Even if both films are about accidental sinners, Morvern Callar turns out to be a very different, and more difficult, film than Ratcatcher.

April 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Samantha Morton's performance recalls Emily Watson's work in Breaking the Waves -- you can't take your eyes off of her.

January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

Morvern Callar is assured and confidently-made, even as the emotions of the title character seem brittle and crystalline.

March 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

El resultado ha encontrado admiradores y detractores; sin llegar a ninguno de los dos extremos, yo tengo la impresión de que vi una buena película pero no me di cuenta.

November 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

"Shocking and exhilarating."

October 24, 2003 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

Ramsay is showing us one very particular type of person, a live-for-the-moment young woman who is fascinated by ugliness and pain and who -- like the poet, Terence -- believes nothing human is alien to her.

June 6, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A character study of such acuity that you'll find yourself thinking about it for days afterward.

May 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

You'll wonder how Morvern got that way. So why didn't Ramsay?

May 16, 2003
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Oddly compelling.

April 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Morton uses her face and her body language to bring us Morvern's soul, even though the character is almost completely deadpan.

April 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Dallas Observer
Dallas Observer

a road movie of the psyche

March 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for Morvern Callar

Soooooo slooooooow....
December 9, 2013
itsjustme2004

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!
March 27, 2010
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!
October 2, 2009
SirPant

Super Reviewer

strange film but i liked it. samantha morton is always worth watching. more modern than ratcatcher but almost as stunning to look at. very nice soundtrack too.
December 1, 2008
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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