Friday, June 7, 2013

Movie Week – Martha Marcy May Marlene

You know those movies that have buzz but for some reason or another you never get around to watching them?  Maybe it’s because it’s an indie flick and it doesn’t hang around for long.  Maybe your movie buddy hasn’t heard of it and is reluctant to check it out.  Who knows? 

Well Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of those movies. It got a ton of buzz because it introduced Elizabeth Olsen to the world.  And because it was allegedly a good movie. 

I didn’t get a chance to see it, but I’d wanted to check it out.  I finally got the chance. 

Martha Marcy May Marlene tells the story of a young woman who has lost her  place in the world and finds solace in a group lead by a charismatic leader.  But then she decides to leave, despite the group’s protest.  She finds refuge with her older sister and tries to reacclimatize with society, while dealing with her time as a member of the group. 

The film’s title refers to the names that Elizabeth Olsen’s character goes by throughout the film. 

I loved this film.  I loved how unnerved it made me feel I watched Martha throughout the entire movie.  I really can’t think of any aspect of Martha Marcy may Marlene that didn’t ring true to me. 

I particularly enjoyed the subtle juxtaposition between life in society and life with the group.  It really sort of pointed out the double standards of the rules that we follow in specific settings.  It was a really nice touch. 

I also appreciated how Martha was complicit in some of the more horrible acts committed in the film.  It was refreshing to see a character who wasn’t a purely innocent victim.   

But I think my favorite part of Martha Marcy May Marlene is the ending.  Ambiguous doesn’t even begin to describe the ending.  Nor does cliffhanger.  It’s like a combination of the two, which leaves you wondering and fearing what became of the characters.   

Elizabeth Olsen truly does a fantastic job of anchoring this film.  She’s in virtually every scene and never do you get the idea that this is her first film.   It was a very demanding role and she knocked it out of the park. 

John Hawkes is masterfully creepy as Patrick.  He possesses an eerie calm that fills every scene he’s in with tension.  But he also really conveys how alluring Patrick is in that you cannot take your eyes off of him. 

I think out of all of the movies that I watched for Movie Week, Martha Marcy May Marlene was the first one that I truly loved. 

It’s that good.  You need to watch it.  

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