Sunday, September 4, 2011
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unraveling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes).
Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha's reality and delusion begins to blur. -- (C) Fox Searchlight
Anthony Kaufman for Screen: "The film skillfully cuts back and forth between Martha's life in Connecticut, as she fails miserably to connect with her sister and reintegrate into 'normal' society, and her time at the commune, which initially appears blissfully utopian, and yet quickly takes on greater shades of oppression, exploitation and violence. Martha, it seems, is trapped in either location. As the commune's patriarch, actor John Hawkes, looking even more emaciated and feral here than in Winter's Bone, perfectly captures the alternating charisma and menace so often seen in cult leaders."
David Rooney in the Hollywood Reporter: "The film impresses most in its ability to sustain a mood of quiet dread, kicking up several visceral notches in the occasional stunning explosion of violence or verbal altercation. Right through to its ambiguous ending, the spell is transfixing."