Donna (Shan MacDonald) has a really tough road ahead of her as she gets her second chance. Deapite efforts to be healthy, she develops a heart murmur, which worsens whenever she tries to contact her daughter. But there are silver linings – she helps out at a veterinary clinic as part of her probation. The other assistant, Crystal (Andria Edwards) teaches her how to do basic tasks and does it with patience. The clinic also gives her emotional wellness, as she gets to hang out with some of the animals. One dog, Charlie, has the same heart condition as she does, and she decides to take them in. She’s a compassionate human being, often a good personality trait, but she takes this love to an extreme.
Heather Young’s debut feature Murmur is an emotional trip, but subjective audiences can color this artistic experience. This is probably not the best thing to watch for people who have suffered from some mental illnesses. Which is not to say that Murmur is an offensive take on such mental illnesses – it’s not. Hoarding, by the way, is under the mental illness bracket, and this might bring bad memories for some audiences. Nonetheless, there’s something admirable about how this movie makes that experience authentic, even with its minimalist visuals. What elevates this film, nonetheless, is MacDonald’s performance, as she carries the burden of Donna’s routine every day. There’s also an intelligence to how she fight for Donna’s ideas, while using her emotions sparsely but effectively.
Catch Murmur as part of TIFF 2019. For tickets and showtimes go to https://tiff.net/events/murmur.
- Release Date: 9/5/2019