Women In Horror: Lynne Ramsay

Throughout the month of February, I decided that my film watches would be dedicated to films directed by females. Now, the occasional male directed movie snuck its way in, but only three. The most wild being The Reflecting Skin...so good. However, the rest of my month I’ve seen various films from wonderful minds not discussed at large most of the time. 

Last month, I attended the Sundance Film Festival for the third time. I volunteer and get free tickets to films for every four hours I work. Usually it is six tickets and, with my schedule, I’m lucky if I get to go to six movies. This past Sundance seemed very underwhelming when it came to what was screening. I saw two movies that really blew me away out of the five that I got to go to. One being Chloe Zhao’s The Rider, and the other being an extremely anticipated new film from Lynne Ramsay entitled You Were Never Really Here starring Joaquin Phoenix. Talk about tense. Not only was I on the edge of my seat watching it, but it was psychologically turbulent as well. Joaquin Phoenix puts on an incomparable performance and probably one of my favorite ones he has done that I have seen. I knew it was coming out on Amazon Prime soon, but I could not wait anymore. The movie was fantastic and deeper than I expected. After seeing this, I felt inspired to work my way through all of Lynne Ramsay’s films, and I did just that.

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Lynne Ramsay is not a name that is talked about too much. The films she is more known for is We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011). Ezra Miller is a teenager who grew up to be extremely disturbed causing destruction. His mother (Tilda Swinton) has to deal with the aftermath of his actions. In the time we are living right now, it can be a little testy for some people to see. However, it is worth the watch. 

Ramsay prior to these two films has created a filmography worthy of discussion. They are normally not labeled as horror, but if you watch them, there is a feeling that rolls through your body of complete horror. These films feel real and that is the terror of Ramsay’s filmography. Ramsay has a knack for being able to film psychological horror and show the horror of everyday life. 

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Her full length features are those of which I delved into. Ratcatcher (1999) is her directorial full length feature debut. The film is politically charged, taking place in Glasgow, Scotland during the garbage strike in the 70’s. It deals with poverty, loneliness, and the hardships of growing up. In a way it is a dark coming of age tale, and Ramsay directs it so beautifully. It is worth to mention that this is in the Criterion Collection. This is a triumph for a female director, since the collection is very short on female directed films in their extensive male dominating catalog.

Morvern Callar (2002), to me, is the least horrific of her films but still unsettling. Movern (Samantha Morton) plays a woman dealing with life after the suicide of her significant other without any reason that it happened. She grieves how she needs to grieve and hides it by creating stories to tell people around her. Morvern finds a book that her boyfriend wrote and she sends it to various publishing companies passing it off as her own. Once it is picked up, Movern uses the money to travel to mask her pain. 

There is not much to Ramsay’s filmography in terms of quantity, but be sure that the quality is far and wide apparent. Angst, dread, and thriller bask Ramsay’s works of art and you will feel all of these emotions while watching. Horror is subjective. What can be horrific to one person, can be a piece of cake to another. Lynne Ramsay has become one of my favorite directors, and to me, her works are dramatic with horrific elements. I feel that she is not widely discussed which is a complete shame. I for one will be on the lookout for everything she creates in the future. My February began watching Lynne Ramsay films, and it is ending by thinking about what I saw. Everything has been fantastic.