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The Unloved

The Unloved (2009)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 492


My Rating

Movie Info

Two-time Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton's directorial debut THE UNLOVED is a powerful and personal look at the strength and resilience of youth. Morton tells the story of eleven-year-old Lucy (newcomer Molly Windsor) seeking refuge as a ward of the state from her abusive father (Robert Carlyle). Placed in a tumultuous foster home, Lucy befriends her rebellious teenage roommate Lauren (Lauren Socha), and together they navigate the cold and uncaring world before them. With a screenplay by


Art House & International, Drama

Samantha Morton

May 24, 2011

Oscilloscope Laboratories

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (1)

Windsor's taciturn and stoic central performance is both haunting and affecting, framed by Morton's deliberate, even stately direction.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As an overall representation of horrors, neglect, and personal solace, it's frustratingly static, often preferring the cool waters of esoteric cinema to something more charged and insightful.

May 30, 2011 Full Review Source:

The Unloved is a promising debut for director Morton, but it's sometimes too sensitive where it should be insightful.

June 18, 2010 Full Review Source:

Morton shows a remarkable confidence as director of this intensely personal drama, which is loosely based on her own experiences.

February 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Poignant, perceptive and unrelenting, this may be bleak, like all great drama, it is ultimately uplifting as well.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The camera is held at kiddie height, the close-ups are all Lucy's, and the adult world is viewed with deep suspicion as a cold and unforgiving place. It's a tough watch, and justifiably uncompromising.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The climactic scene, in which Morton's heroine confronts her mum, is one of the most quietly gut-wrenching things I've seen in years.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian

Funny, real, poetic and frightening, not the gruelling tract about neglect you might expect.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

This is clearly a very personal film; sensibly sustained through a vérité aesthetic that keeps the narrative potent, but not overbearing.

February 19, 2010
Little White Lies

Realised with impeccable craftsmanship, Samantha Morton's directorial debut never puts a foot wrong dramatically, although its unflinching stare at a young life stymied by neglect offers little in the way of comfort.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

It's commanding, committed and sometimes too chilly to truly engage, but it's also heartfelt, powerful stuff - especially in Lauren Socha's passionate, painful performance as Lucy's lost-cause roommate.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Actress Samantha Morton's powerful directorial debut is an often painfully sad account of a young girl's experiences.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A movie with an important message and is an impressive debut from Morton.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Authentic and hyper-real, a reflection of a young girl's inner life that never strays into hysteria.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A few of the more lyrical touches don't quite come off, but in general this has a visual and dramatic punch that does credit both to its young star and its first-time director.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Independent

Not exactly an uplifting film but one made with genuine compassion and honesty.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

A powerfully emotional drama that marks Morton out as a directorial talent to watch.

February 19, 2010 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Audience Reviews for The Unloved

I seriously don't know if there is a more boooring movie out there, but I surely hope I never come across it and stick it out to the end like I did this movie. Good lord, the final scene alone just went on, and on. ...
February 16, 2013

Super Reviewer

This directorial debut from actress Samantha Morton was first aired on television. Due to it's success, it was subsequently released theatrically and deservingly so. This is a film that deserves a wider audience and deserving of the acclimations it recieved also.
The unloved of the title is 11 year old Lucy (Molly Windsor). She has a distant mother (Susan Lynch) who couldn't care less and a father (Robert Carlyle) who beats her. It's not long before she is taken into care and the lonliness she experiences, when she is supposedly being supported, is just as damaging and demoralising as her life at home.
Straight away we are given a glimpse of the tumultuous life of Lucy in a harrowing opening scene with Carlyle on typical edgy and threatening form as her physically abusive father. Following on from this we are given a candid portrayal of childhood within the British care system and a magnetic and heartbreaking performance by young Molly Windsor. Without uttering a word, she manages to convey her lonliness and suffering by just a glance. This is loosely based on Samantha Morton's own childhood and at times I had to remind myself that it wasn't her I was watching onscreen. It's a deliberately paced and beautifully shot film, not without some haunting moments and shows great promise for the two time Oscar nominated actress behind the camera. For as little screen time as he gets, Robert Carlyle still manages a magnificent and multi-layered portrayal of a downtrodden and abusive alcoholic. This is a film that is certainly bleak and may be off putting to some, but underneath it all is a resilient beating heart and despite the odds, still manages to show positivity. A few loose ends went without satisfactory conclusions but other than that, this is a film where the performances and harrowing nature linger long after viewing it.
A persistantly vigorous film and a highly emotional experience. Sensitive, realistic dramas don't come much more powerful than this.
September 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

In "The Unloved," her teachers suspect something is seriously wrong with Lucy(Molly Windsor). But their hands are tied until she finally musters the courage to tell them about the physical abuse she suffers at the hands of her father(Robert Carlyle). Now, the authorities place her in a children's home while she waits for a permanent foster home and placement in a new school. In the meantime, she gets to room with 16-year old Lauren(Lauren Socha), who is told to look after her as a sign of responsibility which she promptly squanders.

"The Unloved" is a moving social drama wherein director Samantha Morton takes an intriguing artistic approach, starting with the long takes that frame the movie. The first is almost impossible to watch as it builds slowly to an assault which while thankfully offscreen is still hard to contemplate. The rest of the movie is not as difficult to watch. In almost every frame is Lucy and her endless gaze, observing the adults around her as they move into and out of frame and her life. Around such flawed and messed up role models, does Lucy have any hope in such a cruel and uncaring world?
May 21, 2012
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I watched this yesterday night at the opening in TIFF (Thessaloniki International Film Festival). It's a beautiful, sensitive film that deals with a very controversial subject. Samantha Morton keeps the balance, by being realistic, but at the same time she lets the emotion flow without exploiting her audience. Most scenes are slow and they take their time to grow on you. The framing is always accounted for, with rare economy and attention to detail. Molly Windsor, as Lucy, remains with you long after you've left the room. I must say I admired the way the director and the screenwriter (Tony Grisoni) handled her relationship with her father. One of the scenes I will never forget, is how she enters the pub where he hangs out, how she sits on the corner of the sofa, just waiting for him to get near her. The conflict of love versus abuse has stricken a very powerful chord, here. I unreservedly give this a 4 out of 5. Good luck with the film, Samantha.
December 2, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. Father: OK, I'm going to give you one last chance. Where's the fooking money!
    – Submitted by Rick G (2 years ago)
    1. Mother: Lucy?
    2. Lucy: Yes, mum?
    3. Mother: (while crying) Don't you ever, EVER be sorry about coming to see your mummy. Okay?
    – Submitted by Jennifer P (3 years ago)
    1. Lucy: They stumbled and fell.
    – Submitted by Jennifer P (3 years ago)
    1. Lucy: Lauren?
    2. Lauren: What?
    3. Lucy: Please,can I sleep with the light on?
    4. Lauren: No you fucking CAN'T!
    – Submitted by Jennifer P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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