Murmur

Murmur is a tender portrayal of a woman alleviating her loneliness by adopting a terminally ill dog.

Donna is this weary, humphy-backit, older woman, recovering from a heart condition. She lives alone and has quite a serious estrangement from her only daughter. As community service resultant from a DUI, she is sent to work in an animal shelter.

There she meets Charlie, an auld, sick, incontinent, scruffy dog, with his tongue sticking out one side of his mouth and a scraggly fringe hanging down over his eyes. He, like Donna, has a heart murmur, as well as a list of health complaints besides. Donna insists on taking him home when time comes for him to be put down.

Murmur is an extraordinarily quiet film. There is no background music. At the opening of the film, Donna’s flat is mostly silent, with only the sound of her drawing on her e-cigarette, or splashing red wine into a glass as she watches telly. There is no one to talk to, so she is wordless. As she takes on the job at the animal shelter, you get all the sounds of the animals, barking and meowing, and the sound of her working to mop and hose the place down. And when Charlie comes to live with her, suddenly her life is full of sound, his little breaths, his sighs, his little susurrations. She coos over him as she washes his coat with medicated shampoo, and chitter-chatters to him as she persuades him to eat to get his weight up. His every yip fascinates her, and she has this real connection with another living being again.

Then the addictive element of her character that got her into trouble with drink-driving seems to kick in, and soon she has a menagerie of every kind of animal, her flat becomes a midden, the whole place stinks of piss and shit, and she jeopardises her place at the shelter by trying to make off with every unwanted animal.

As the film winds towards its inevitable conclusion, you are left moved by the inestimable impact of these tiny creatures who share our lives.