Martha Marcy May Marlene


Action / Drama / Mystery / Thriller


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 41,200 times
February 06, 2012 at 10:58 AM



Elizabeth Olsen as Martha
Hugh Dancy as Ted
Maria Dizzia as Katie
652.43 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 42 min
P/S 2 / 34

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DJ K 2 / 10


(SPOILERS THROUGHOUT) So you have a violent, murderous cult that kills innocent kittens (and innocent people too!) that barely cares when one of its members escapes (Lizzy Olson). Yes they tromp after her in the woods and she successfully hides. Yay! Lizzy escapes from the cult, but then she thinks it's wise to go into the town right outside where the cult is located. Oh Lizzy... why did you do that to us? What were you thinking? Don't you know they KILL people and will probably kill you if they find you? You should go further to a different town, or call for help immediately before you risk being caught! You never want to eat for the rest of the movie, why bother going to a restaurant, barely eating anything, and risk being caught? Anyway, she decides to eat at this restaurant. Then, OF COURSE one of the guys from the cult finds her chomping on some food at this restaurant. HOWEVER, for some unknown reason, he has a short conversation with her, and then he just allows her to walk. His motive you would think (as an evil violent killer) would be to either kidnap her again, or follow her back to where she's taking refuge. But neither of those things happen. No, it takes a curious phone call from the Lizzy back to the cult about 1.5 hrs into the 3 hour feeling movie--I get it she was a "teacher and a leader" with the cult and now she is being harassed by her sister's husband for being weird--before the question is asked: will the cult be able to find her? And what will they do? That question seriously should have been asked from the second she appeared at that house.

The illogical nature of the film continues on and on. Motives confound. Some of the writing is painful. The cinematography, which is lauded--I agree the framing and transitions are great--had some major issues with color and contrast in a lot of scenes. It didn't seem like an intentional creative mistake, just bad camera-work.

The film is divided into 2 parts: 1) scenes in the cult, and 2) Lizzy in the care of her sister. Back and forth. Back and forth. No real development. I wish this were based on a true story, then I think Durkin would have had a bit more to go off of, and the story would have felt believable. Instead, he has nothing but glimpses.

They say this film is filled with dread. But in order to have dread, you need to care for the characters. And what is this about Lizzy Olson's amazing performance? She plays plain Jane, and then crazy Jane. There isn't much middle ground, there is no devolution into madness. There's just normal and madness. It's just 2 notes, played repeatedly over and over. There's nothing to care for.

Above all implausibility and a two note script, was the worst part: the relationship between the 2 sisters in the "out of the cult" parts of the movie. It was the same monotony over and over and over again. Interesting set-up: sister (now crazy) escapes from cult and acts really weird, and she's now in her sister and husband's care. She acts weird, and her sister and husband have no idea what to do with her. But there's no real payoff or development. It's just like... sis is acting weird. Husband: "THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH HER." Ya, of course there's something wrong with her, maybe you should take her to see a specialist asap, or maybe contact authorities. She's obviously the victim of a crime and has been abused, and guess what? Maybe YOUR LIVES ARE AT RISK TOO because you have crazy here. Who knows who may be looking for her? People who come out of bad relationships don't act like they were victims of some horrible crime unless they were. Anyway, logical thoughts didn't go through ANYONE'S heads in this film. I think the most logical thought was on the nature of death brought by John Hawkes, that no one dies, that death is just a transfer of life to an alternate reality, that no one dies. And unfortunately, the same thing was true with my 2 hours, sucked into the vortex of time transferred to the MMMM Gods. My 2 hours is gone from me, but someone was happy my fanny was in the seat--it fed someone's ego.

The redeeming qualities: John Hawkes is amazing. His performance of the song "Marcy" is haunting (I want a recording of that), and overall what he brings is a huge takeaway. I want to watch Winter's Bone again. Brady Corbet is incredible. He needs to be in more movies. He played opposite Joseph Gordon Levitt in Mysterious Skin, and I'm surprised his career didn't take like JGL's has done. I wish the film had more of those guys, but it wouldn't have been the same movie. It may have actually been good. The premise is pretty kick-ass. The trailer is sweet. It made me excited for the movie. The sex scenes were well done and messed up. Basically every scene with Hawkes was excellent, and most scenes with Corbet were good. The transitions between the two realities were handled well and made you feel a sense of disorientation.

2/10: For the love of God, don't get sucked up into the hype and spend $10 and 2 hours of your time, or if you bring a date, pay to drive there, get some popcorn, spend like $25-$30 on this movie. It's not worth it. Disappointing.

Reviewed by Jeff Heimbrock ([email protected]) 8 / 10

More Than Meets the Eye

Sean Durkin's first feature is quite the trip. Durkin's sensibility as a director shines with this film, and shows undeniable promise. The really crazy thing about this film is that it's quietness is only juxtaposed by the really messed up things that are happening in the plot. An intriguing analytical mess of reality, memory, and fantasy, Martha Marcy May Marlene is about a paranoia, an extreme desire to escape the past, though it always comes back to haunt you. It is the isolation and the trouble that comes with that, that Martha really suffers from-- the cult has a certain way of thinking and the film geniously explores the psychological persuasion into a way of thinking…the way that the cult tries to make their ethics and morality universal is a terrifying, and intriguing thing. Elizabeth Olsen does a helluva job as Martha, giving her dewey eyed complexity, both bewilderment, shock, disgust, and intrigue. She gives quiet moments great momentum, and is an actress to keep an eye on. Jody Lee Lipes' cinematography is eerily distant and then uncomfortably close; the mixed bag reflects Martha's psyche in an interesting way. The scariest thing about Martha Marcy May Marlene is that it actually could happen. It may have even benefited from taking that dive a bit further, let us know just how paranoid and altered Martha is, and especially contrasting that with the old Martha, and the only complaint I might have is that we never get to see what the original Martha was like; it is only inferred as to why she would even accept and join this group in the first place, or what exactly she was running away from. But perhaps that makes the film only more intriguing—running away brought her to this society, and of course it looks fine on the outside, with it's acceptable living conditions and always a "family' of sorts around you. But, ah, there's always more than meets the eye. B+

Reviewed by chrismsawin 5 / 10

Brilliantly unnerving

Martha Marcy May Marlene is literally one of the most difficult movie titles to remember in recent memory; at least until after you see the film. Shortened to MMMM in movie conversations, when you tell people that title their reply is usually along the lines of, "That sounds REALLY stupid." But Martha Marcy May Marlene is pretty much the furthest thing from stupid a film could possibly be. But then if you were try to convince somebody that a movie starring a younger sister of the Olsen twins is not only good but filled with some pretty extraordinary acting, you'd probably be laughed at. If you enjoy independent film, watch the trailer for Martha Marcy May Marlene and go into the full-length film with an open mind. It's practically guaranteed you'll be surprised with what you discover.

Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) has just returned home to her family; Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy). Martha disappeared two years ago without a trace. She never called anyone or let anyone know where she was going; she was just gone. Now that Martha has returned, she doesn't seem right. She acts strangely and can't tell the difference between the past, the present, and events that she dreamed about. But she doesn't want to talk about it. She did however live with a man named Patrick (John Hawkes) on a farm with a group of other women who basically worshipped the ground Patrick walked on. But whatever happened there has tainted Martha. The events that transpired there still haunt her to this day and Martha soon comes to realize that the life she had for two years isn't so easy to run away from.

Martha Marcy May Marlene reels you in right from the start. You see Martha take off into the woods and the shaky point of view that's used along with the positioning of the camera gives you the sense that you're chasing after her, which is basically what you're doing the entire film. There's this constant sense of uneasiness dripping over each frame of the film even before anything is actually revealed. The absence of a score does wonders, but every once in awhile a slow rising high pitched tone can be heard to make things more tense and it works in spades.

The film itself is rather upsetting and almost off-putting in a way. It's incredibly difficult to watch at times, but hard to pull yourself away from at the same time. Elizabeth Olsen is an interesting actress to watch. She spends the majority of the film keeping to herself and not wanting to talk about the hell she's been through the past two years, but her unusual behavior along with how insanity begins to slip through the cracks of the front she puts on in front of her family is the beauty of not only the character but her performance as well. John Hawkes has always been a compelling actor anyway, but he's in top form here. Patrick is a very driven individual. Of course, the way he lives and his ideals are completely off the wall but it's the way he's so calm about it and so confident that makes it believable. Then there's his dark side that's just downright scary. The whole scenario brings to mind a famous serial killer; a certain family from the 1960s.

However like most movies the less you know about Martha Marcy May Marlene going in the better. One of the film's charms is how it transitions between the past and the present. It illustrates to perfection the thought process and current mindset of the Martha character. Marcy's Song, which is performed by John Hawkes, is a beautiful song but its context is genuinely creepy. Most of the conversations between Martha and her sister Lucy are some of the best scenes in the film. Their conversation by the lake while Ted is making dinner is one that stands out. You find yourself just enthralled with the film and just entranced with everything going on, but the ending is kind of a letdown. It's very open-ended and was obviously done to keep you talking (which it has done very successfully), but it didn't feel completely satisfying to me. It doesn't necessarily hurt the film overall, but is just a small nitpick on my end.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is driven by an exceptional cast and an engaging story while being wrapped up in an incredibly unnerving presentation. There doesn't really seem to be a weak actor in the cast as Elizabeth Olsen shows she's a very talented actress and John Hawkes continues to show how talented he really is. Martha Marcy May Marlene keeps you guessing, keeps you on the edge of your seat, and is just brilliant storytelling all around.

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