Directed by: Samantha Morton
Starring: Molly Windsor, Lauren Socha, Robert Carlyle, Andrea Lowe, Craig Parkinson
Country: British Cinema, Europe
Language: English (English subtitles)
Genres: Domestic Abuse, Misery/Depressing, Teen-Childhood
Plot – Spoilers:
The Unloved is a depressing take on the UK’s care system and children’s homes and is centered on Lucy, a young girl, maybe 10 or 11 years old who is sent to a children’s home after being savagely beaten by her father. Her mother isn’t an option either and Lucy falls in that unlucky category of kids whose parents didn’t want them and who were too selfish to learn to deal with their presence.
Lucy hardly talks and physically is frail with a perennially sad face. This and her age works to her advantage in the children’s home where the older girls in particular don’t feel threatened by her presence and instead are motherly/big sisterly.
The Unloved is not just about Lucy’s perspective on her unfortunate situation but it also tackles how the care system is just not adequately set in place to give any meaning or hope to the kids’ lives. The Staff, even when well-intentioned, often find their hands tied by protocol and rules that appear to be set in stone.
All in all, a fantastic directorial debut by the glorious English actress Samantha Morton who referenced her own experiences growing up in foster care.
1. The scene where Lucy’s Dad questions her about the lost money he’d given her to buy cigarettes. Molly Windsor’s tense shoulders, as she stands there frozen, unable to explain the situation makes you nervous as you dread whether the rising tension will culminate in a beating. It’s actually worse – a belting.
The Dad gets more and more agitated, his anger stoked by Lucy’s pathetic lack of a fight and apologies. Sometimes people become more of a brute when the object of their brutality is wimpy or miserable. It’s a strange side to humans in power.
The misery of Lucy for the viewer is heightened by her praying to Christian figures. To her, it probably summons hope, but as viewers, we see the hopelessness of her hope.
2. The Christmas party
There is a sense of community – they’ve only got each other to hang out with and have fun. However it is one of the more depressing scenes in the movie.