Reviews and Problems with Martha Marcy May Marlene
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Movie overall 10
Martha Marcy May Marlene
12 March 2012
Excerpt: Making her feature film debut (and proving there is some acting talent in the Olsen gene pool after all) Elizabeth Olsen anchors this quietly devastating exploration of a damaged young woman. Shying away from the tween friendly Mary-Kate and Ashley multi-billion dollar brand as far as possible, Olsen stars as the eponymous heroine; a recent escapee from a self-sufficient cult controlled by the menacing Patrick ( John Hawkes ).
Excerpt: Remember when Martha Marcy May Marlene became one of the breakout films of Sundance 2011, only to pretty much disappear upon theatrical release and be totally overlooked during awards season? Now's your chance to catch up on what you more than likely missed—one of the best movies of 2011. Martha (Elizabeth Olsen, Silent House ) has just escaped from what is essentially a cult secluded in the Catskills, where she has lived for the last two years.
Excerpt: It is not rare to see independently made thrillers every so often, but it certainly is satisfying to see one that is well acted and crafted, rich with intrigue, and full of disturbingly quiet tension. The tongue twistery-titled film Martha Marcy May Marlene is one that unfolds skillfully, telling a story set within two timelines that involves a young girl’s plight while under the control of a cult and her struggle to assimilate back into normal life after escaping it.
Excerpt: The Film The Olsen name is not synonymous with good film. With efforts like How the West Was Fun , Mary Kate and Ashley have pretty much made a name and massive fortune on crappy movies geared towards a tween audience. Elizabeth Olsen, however, is a different story. Yes, there is a younger Olsen. She's not a twin, but she just happens to be a fine actress. That evidence lies in Martha Marcy May Marlene , a film as complex as its title.
Conclusion: 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' is a creepy, tense psychological drama that features a great performance by Elizabeth Olsen. Its fragmented narrative offers a refreshing experience, but the plot does feel a little thin and potentially unsatisfying. The video transfer appears to be authentic, but some of the stylistic choices lead to an underwhelming image. Audio is subtle but effective, enhancing the creepy mood.
Summary: Since the subject matter is so fertile for drama, I have no idea why there aren't more narrative, non-documentary films about cults. Of course, I'm not talking about the supernatural satanic-panic type overrepresented in horror movies like Rosemary's Baby or the recent House of the Devil .
Excerpt: Movies successfully built on mood are an astonishing high-wire act, requiring not just a remarkable consistency in every scene, but for the audience to immerse themselves in that mood as well. Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene , his first film, accomplishes this so well that it's easy to overlook its more underdeveloped areas, which emerge as the film sinks deeper into a story with no intention of resolving in a conventional way.
Excerpt: About halfway through Sean Durkin ’s terrifying drama Martha Marcy May Marlene , the possibly crazy Elizabeth Olsen asks her uptight sister Sarah Paulson if she’s ever had trouble telling the difference between a dream and a memory. Paulson says no, but anyone who has ever had that trouble will likely be extra-shaken by what happens next, and by Martha Marcy May Marlene as a whole.
Excerpt: The group lives communally, on a farmhouse up in the Catskills. By day they work; everyone has their job, their place. At night, the men eat first, in silence, while the women sit tensely in the next room and wait for them to finish. Once the men are done, the women take their places at the table.