Morvern Callar (2002) from Tuna

Shot in a dark and subdued palette, set in Scotland, Morvern Callar (2002) is a strange film that received critical acclaim and several awards.

Supermarket clerk Samantha Morton wakes up on the floor next to her boyfriend, who has committed suicide. He leaves a note on the computer, explaining where to send the novel he has just finished, and where to get the burial money from his bank account. The woman leaves him dead on the floor and goes pub crawling with happy go lucky best friend Kathleen McDermott, but not before changing the author's name on the novel to her own. A day or two later, after she sends the novel to a publisher, it occurs to her to bury the corpse herself, and use the burial money to buy a trip to Spain for her and her friend.

Morton plays the kind of person who would not be noticed at a party. She is profoundly unhappy, but we are never quite sure why, and is more of an observer of life than a participant. McDermott's character is exactly the opposite. She is outgoing, popular, and a party animal. The film does not really have a conventional plot, and never really answers questions about what is going on inside the main character's head, or why she is the way she is.

Performances were pretty good in this character study, but the accents were not easy to understand. This should have been my kind of film, but I found it a very slow watch. The only element which kept me interested was that I was looking for clues to Morton's character.


Samantha Morton and Kathleen McDermott show breasts multiple times.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic

Scoop's note: I haven't seen it. I'm just interjecting an observation that the film was both loved and hated passionately. One Brit newspaper hailed it as a masterpiece (10/10), while another gave it the worst possible score (1/10). Yahoo estimated that the average critic gave it a B+, but their average member scored it a D+. That, coupled with Tuna's summary, should tell you all you need to know.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Roger Ebert 3.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.8/10, Yahoo voters D+.
  • It grossed only $276,000 in the USA in sub-arthouse distribution.

In the UK ...

  • There was no consensus in the UK. It received the highest possible score from one newspaper, the lowest from another. Mail 1/10, Telegraph 5/10, Independent 3/10, Guardian 10/10, Times 8/10, Sun 3/10, Express 9/10, BBC 4/5. (Average 2.35 stars out of 4)
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C- at best. If the above plot setup appeals to you, you might want to rent it. If it doesn't sound like your kind of movie, it will not win you over.

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