The Unloved Molly Windsor, Lauren Socha, Robert Carlyle, Susan Lynch Director: Samantha Morton Based on her own tumultuous childhood - one shaped by her incompetent parents and long spells in care - Samantha Morton's directorial debut revolves around Lucy (Molly Windsor), an 11-year-old who is taken away from her abusive father (Robert Carlyle) and placed in care. Rather than giving her solace, Lucy finds a different kind of instability awaiting her, with her older room-mate Lauren (Lauren Socha) who works the streets for money while the home itself is a completely mismanaged institution, Social workers are either struggling to maintain their charges' well-being or actually take part in the mistreatment themselves. While The Unloved has its moments of social realism, Morton has elected to veer away from making a docudrama. Rather than relying on straightforward exposition and shaky camerawork, the film thrives on a mise-en-scene which offers meticulous framing exercises (in scenes showing the world from Lucy's point of view, for example, and in the way the girl is made to look small and helpless in two-shots where she converses with adults). There is also the haunting score, and quiet, contemplative sequences which harks to the work of Terence Davies, Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay, with whom Morton worked on the equally visually striking Morvern Callar. Tony Grisoni's screenplay plays a role in bringing verbal coherence to Morton's story, but the film thrives because of performances from its excellent young cast. While Socha personifies the frisson and discontent well, it's Windsor (below) who proves the most mesmerising, as she delivers a nuanced turn that illustrates Lucy's multilayered emotional state as she confronts oppression from all around her. With such a mix, The Unloved is an understated gem. Extras: deleted scenes, trailer.