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

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

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.