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Martha Marcy May Marlene

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on October 30, 2011 at 12:05 AM



MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE   ***1/2

Sean Durkin

2011




IDEA:   A young woman tries to fit back into life with her sister after she flees a vicious cult.


BLURB:   I can think of few films so disconcerting and downright hopeless I can’t imagine ever watching them again. This is one of them. Simultaneously tracking a young woman’s indoctrination into a cult and her attempts at re-assimilating into normal life, the film has nary a moment that’s not steeped in suffocating nervousness. Every scene, of past and present seamlessly merging and mixing into each other, is shot in a gauzy haze, a washed out nightmare of utter exhaustion. Elizabeth Olsen plays the four names of the title, and it’s such a frighteningly inhabited performance you literally fear for the life you’re watching on screen. As we switch fluidly back and forth between the repulsive happenings in the cult and the bitter isolation of a spacious lake house, the psychological ramifications that have claimed Martha’s life become all too clear. This elegant, emotionally bruising film embodies her mental state with a startling grasp for real-life horror.

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About the Author


Jonathan Leithold-Patt is a cinephile, film critic, and artist currently working on his Master's degree at UCLA.

Contact at [email protected]

Devoted to the Movies