Morvern Callar

With this film, I got the feeling that a lot of THE POINT was left in the original novel, with director Lynne Ramsay preferring to do Malick-style meandering w/o the voice-over. But whatevs, it was entrancing. From some of the arguments on the IMDB page, I got the impression that the novel is superior (it's narrated first person, which immediately tells me that there must be more character / theme stuff going on than you get in the film). But I haven't read it so I'm forced to ponce over what Ramsey provides. She should have thought about that.

The hook is that Morvern's lover commits suicide, but leaves his finished novel dedicated to her with instructions to send it to publishers. Morvern does so, but not before substituting her name for his. Then she takes his money and goes on holiday. And that's pretty much it. Her character is explored through action rather than dialogue, and what we see is a sullen, restless, impulsive, resourceful, uneducated girl who enjoys silence, ants and sexual encounters with strangers. ??? indeed.

I'm thinking the dead boyfriend hangs all over this film, which leads me to suspect it's less about some sort of existentialist journey (how terribly old fashioned!) and more about aesthetics and interpretation. Why not? Didn't some guy in the 60s declare the death of the author? Well I don't know about that. This guy leaves the protagonist with a "Sorry Morvern. Don't try to understand. It just seemed like the right thing to do", his love, a new jacket, a lighter, and a mixtape which she (and we) listen to throughout the film. Communication through objects and music, plus affection and condescension. Is dead boyfriend writing Morvern's life for her ("don't try to understand")? Did he want to set her free ("the right thing to do")? Or is his little toy rebelling, claiming her right to her own life, with reparations for the exploitation she's suffered ("Sorry Morvern")?

Or maybe I'm just looking for nuance in an otherwise pretty but dull film? I'll give Lynne Ramsay the benefit of the doubt. The film was pretty. And, I should have mentioned this before, Samantha Morton is magnificent.

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