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Rated R · 101 minutes · 2011

Drama, Thriller
The events of Martha Marcy May Marlene are never abundantly clear. A few things are defined: Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) joins a community that turns out to be a cult; she escapes and tries to carry on with her life by living with family; and the cult isn’t really the friendly kind. Everything else is foggy. That’s by design, but there are so many questions left unanswered that, designed or not, it’s a real flaw. The naturalistic cinematography is great, and as the cult leader, John Hawkes (from last year’s indie-darling Winter’s Bone) is electric, but it’s not enough to make the half-assembled story into a great film. Much has been said and written about Olsen, the younger sister of the famous twins, and she’s a surefire Oscar nominee. That’s saying something, because the material is not nearly as good as she is.
Official Site: foxsearchlight.com/marthamarcymaymarlene
Director: Sean Durkin
Producer: Josh Mond, António Campos, Chris Maybach, Patrick Cunningham, Ted Hope, Matt Palmieri, Saemi Kim, Saerom Kim and Alexander Schepsman
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy, Brady Corbet, Christopher Abbott, Maria Dizzia, Julia Garner and Louisa Krause

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Martha Marcy May Marlene

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What others are saying (16)

The Coast Halifax Multiple joys of Martha Marcy May Marlene Sundance favourite a must-see at The Oxford by Matt Semansky 11/17/2011
East Bay Express Martha Marcy May Marlene First cult is the deepest. by Kelly Vance 10/26/2011
Memphis Flyer Girl, Interrupted by Hannah Sayle 11/10/2011
13 more reviews...
Colorado Springs Independent Opening this week Martha Marcy May Marlene and local film events. 12/01/2011
Charleston City Paper A nod to the best films of 2011, in all their ambiguity Welcome to 2011 at the movies — where the only thing certain about the best movies was their uncertainty. by Scott Renshaw 12/28/2011
Indy Week Soul survivor in Martha Marcy May Marlene Elizabeth Olsen's performance throughout is somber and self-assured, a promising debut encouraged perhaps by her own efforts to escape the suffocating shadow—and cult of personality—of her older siblings. by Neil Morris 11/16/2011
Colorado Springs Independent Light in the darkness A celebration of the best films of 2011, in all their ambiguity. by Scott Renshaw 12/29/2011
Charleston City Paper Martha Marcy May Marlene is creepy, sexy, and very stylized A semi-sinister little film with the eerie, sunlit ambiance of headspace thrillers like Rosemary's Baby or the original The Stepford Wives, Martha Marcy May Marlene presents a young woman trapped between two worlds. by Felicia Feaster 11/16/2011
Chicago Reader Martha Marcy May Marlene The M is near by J.R. Jones 10/27/2011
Boise Weekly The Projector: Movies Opening Friday, Nov. 11 Mickey Rourke attempts to conquer Mount Olympus; Adam Sandler conquers his desire to play a drag role; Leonardo DiCaprio conquers the intelligence community; Elizabeth Olsen conquers her inner demons. It's all at the movies. by Garrett Horstmeyer 11/11/2011
Colorado Springs Independent Blue Olsen Cult: Martha Marcy May Marlene Martha Marcy May Marlene is easy to love and impossible not to admire. That's also true of the film's breakout star. by Justin Strout 12/01/2011
Portland Mercury Breaking Out Elizabeth Olsen unravels like a dream in Martha Marcy May Marlene. by Marjorie Skinner 11/03/2011
The Coast Halifax Review roundup: Martha Marcy May Marlene, Melancholia and Twilight: Breaking Dawn Three movie reviews from the weekend of November 18 by Carsten Knox 11/20/2011
Creative Loafing Atlanta Martha Marcy May Marlene conveys fractured psyche of a cult escapee Psychological drama finds the menace in the 'normal' by Curt Holman 11/03/2011

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