Sunday, November 13, 2011

Movie Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

A rose by any other name...
Great film. Horrible title. There, glad I got that out of the way. So yes, there has been great hype around this movie, taking film festivals by storm and generating positive buzz from critics. I was luckily enough to finally get a night off with the ol' girlfriend and hit up the theater for the first time in forever. She likes thriller type pictures so I conned her into checking Martha Marcy May Marlene out with me. We both agreed it was a good film, but I think one of us (me) enjoyed it more than the other...

^^if Maggie Gyllenhaal was pretty^^
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a disturbing, psychological thriller. Elizabeth Olsen (yes, Mary-Kate and Ashley's younger sister!) plays Martha, a troubled young woman who reconnects with her estranged sister after having spent the past few years living with a cult out in the wilderness. Martha struggles adapting to the routines of a "normal" household and has frequent flashbacks of her traumatic experiences on the communal farm. Fantasy and reality start to blur, leaving Martha's family and the film's audience just as bewildered as poor Martha.

The film confronts the viewer with acts of an uncomfortable, if not down right twisted nature. Scenes of rape, violence, and plain old awkwardness (skinny dipping in front of your new brother-in-law = lulz) make up the bulk of this film. The rest is carried by the Elizabeth Olsen's uncanny facial expressions and the stoic creepiness exuded by John Hawkes. Olsen's performance is nothing short of fearless. This, her motion picture debut is one people will be talking about for a long while. At first I was like, "Michelle Tanner's sister looks kind of tore up in this movie," but by the end I was like "...Full House? What? All I see is this amazing up and coming actress." As for Hawkes, dude won tons of accolades for his role in Winter's Bone last year and I'm almost positive he'll be back this award season for his chilling portrayal of the Charles Manson-ish cult leader Patrick here in Martha Marcy May Marlene. His character Patrick doesn't actually do much, but the way he carries himself and creeps into the psyche of his followers and even charms the audience is bedazzling.

Jedi Mind Tricks in action
In fact, the entire film mirrors Hawkes performance. It's slow yet mesmerizing. Restrained, yet eerily terrifying. This film may not be for everyone though. My girlfriend enjoyed it yet claimed she wanted "more." A few people were unsatisfied with the film's abrupt ending (like the old guy who screamed, "terrible!" at the screen) but after much consideration, I've decided I liked it just fine. Isn't that the hallmark of a great film anyways? When it stays with you and leaves you asking questions? Great directors are supposed to show the audience, not tell them. First time director Sean Durkin does just that. All the pieces of Martha Marcy May Marlene are there, it's up to the viewer to form their own conclusions.

21 comments:

  1. Haha wow that is a pretty weird name for a film. +my mind was blown when I learned there was another Olsen... she must feel so weird.

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  2. That's a pretty uncomfortable title there, but for sure I'll give it a shot. It sounds like the type I'd like.

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  5. Wow never new the twins had a younger sister, yeah such a BAD title, but sounds interesting, will check it out.

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  6. That is a probably bad title. Though it does sound like a pretty good movie really.

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  7. you've convinced me, i'm checking it out. :)

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  8. I agree that's an awful title but I'd love to check it out actually, it sounds like a pretty good film to me!

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  9. to the watchlist!

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  10. Tongue Twister Titles ftl. But def. seems like a movie I would watch. Good review. :)

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  11. It seemed like a really good movie but you are right. It could have done with a name change. Too many M's...

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  12. What a title...and a younger sister...worth checking out just for that.

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  13. trailer sorta reminds me of butterfly effect

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  14. It doesn't look like the kind of movie you'd want to watch with your family. :P

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  15. Okay so this sounds and looks amazing! I really want to see this. I love that there is an Olsen twin involved and appears to be legit. Great review, can't wait to see it! Oh yeah, you're right the title sucks.

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  16. is this anything like that hilarious movie me, myself and irene?

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  17. You had me at "disturbing, psychological thriller."

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  18. looks interesting and it seems to throw a lot of that psychological stuff like in black swan. i will probably see this movie.

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