More than any other time in modern history, people around the world are realising just how important animals are in our lives. Pets play a huge part in improving wellbeing, tackling anxiety and calming nervousness. We’re increasingly living more isolated lifestyles and whilst we might connect with others online, it’s not the same as that physical interaction. More and more, we’re realising the benefits of being around cats and dogs. This is the case in Murmur.
Donna (Shan MacDonald) is a lonely middle-aged woman who seeks solace at the bottom of a bottle. With no friends and a daughter who doesn’t want to speak to her, she spends every night alone in her flat. After being sentenced to community service on a drunk driving charge, she starts to work at an animal rescue centre. When Charlie, an elderly dog, is faced with euthanasia, Donna ends up taking pity on him. This new found companionship rapidly leads to her adopting more and more animals.
Murmur is a quiet and poignant film about loneliness and how that unconditional love which a pet gives us can fill a void in our lives. However, as Donna soon finds out to her cost, it cannot fully replace human interaction. Director Heather Young’s (who also writes and edits) decision to use non-professional actors, unscripted dialogue and shoot in a docufiction style creates an authentic and immersive experience. Events are cropped around (the exceptional) MacDonald, confining her within a world of misery and sadness. Murmur is a remarkably gentle and thoughtful drama.
Murmur screens at Glasgow Film Festival.