Toronto 2019: Murmur

Murmer. Courtesy of TIFF.

Murmur offers a taste of bold experimental filmmaking surrounding the connections between humans and the animals in our lives.

Documentary-narrative feature hybrids are starting to become more of a thing.  The main focus in this film is Donna (Shan MacDonald).  Donna is an alcoholic and following a recent DUI charge, she’s been ordered to perform community service.  Her community service obligations find her serving or time at an animal rescue shelter.  While putting in her time, she starts to bond with some of the dogs.  There’s one senior dog in particular that captures her attention.  But as Donna is aging and feeling lonely, she starts to crave some attention.  What happens with Donna is that while she brings one dog home, she feels this need to rescue even more of them.

One can understand Donna’s need for bringing in more dogs but she doesn’t have the necessary space for all of them!  Regardless of this impulse to bring more dogs in, it’s obviously too much to handle.  With one dog in particular, there are so many health issues that I thought this film would be added to the website about dogs dying.  I love dogs myself and realize that I can’t exactly offer them what they need in my small studio apartment.

What’s so fascinating about Murmur is watching Donna go from this alcoholic addiction to an addiction for dogs.  The latter is clearly more healthier for her body but she really has her work cut out!  Whether it’s one addiction or another, she still needs to have people putting her in check.

Murmur, while being bold in its storytelling choices, is not going to be for everyone.

CAST:  Shan MacDonald, Andria Edwards

Murmur holds its world premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in the Discovery program. Grade: 3/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.