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

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

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.