Martha Marcy May Marlene

"Excellent"

Martha Marcy May Marlene Review


With a disturbing tone and skilful filmmaking, this insinuating drama completely unsettles us as it delves into the mental life of its central character. And it has a lot to say about how relationships affect us.

After going missing for two years, Martha (Olsen) phones her sister Lucy (Paulson) for help, then goes to stay with Lucy and her husband Ted (Dancy) in a lakeside house. Martha says she's been living with a boyfriend, but actually she was in a cult-like commune with her friend Zoe (Krause), working a farm under the leadership of the charismatic Patrick (Hawkes). Renamed Marcy May, she was coaxed into sharing everything there, including her body, and now she's not quite sure what's real and what isn't. And also whether she actually got away.

Writer-director Durkin tells the story from Martha's blurred perspective, in which she's not quite sure where she is. Does Patrick still have a grip on her? As he leads the commune into increasingly dark behaviour (including gun lessons and invading nearby homes), Martha's connection with the outside world fades away to the point where nothing seems quite right. And the film is inventively shot and edited to put us right inside her mind.

It helps that Olsen delivers such a committed performance as this observant, smart women who drifts into a subculture that seems right despite the warning signs. In the commune, she was the leader she was never allowed to be outside.

And no one selfishly lived in lavish houses surrounded by things they didn't need while talking superficially and clinging to unspoken rules. So which of her two lives makes more sense?

The cast around her is equally seamless, and each relationship feels like it has a life to it far beyond what we see on screen. This makes the film feel somewhat elusive, never quite forming a full picture or explaining what's going on in Martha's mind. She can't remember anything about middle-class New England society, but she knows enough to lie about where she's been living. These touches, as well as the increasingly intense final series of events, make the film extremely hard to get out of your head.



Martha Marcy May Marlene

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st December 2011

Box Office USA: $3.0M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight

Production compaines: Cunningham & Maybach Films, FilmHaven Entertainment, BorderLine Films, This Is That Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 174 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sean Durkin

Producer: , Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach,

Starring: as Martha, as Ted, as Patrick, as Lucy, Christopher Abbot as Max, as Watts, as Katie, as Sarah, as Zoe

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.