Movie Review-Martha Marcy May Marlene

Coming to home video Feb 21st 2012

Plot-Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.

Review-This film was odd enough to recommend and confusing enough that it may not be for the casual film watcher. Elizabeth Olsen,( yes sister of the dynasty known as Olsen) John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, and Hugh Dancy all deliver on performances in some very difficult scenes and keep your attention somewhat. First time director Sean Durkin, filmed this movie like he is more concerned about oscar nods than fans. And that hurts this film a lot. This film is very slow and so plot driven, that unless you get into the plight of the lead character Martha, almost immediately you feel left out. The whole first 45 minutes all centers around her, from her being such a lost and free spirit that you almost right away can point out she has issues. Even though, you are not able to put your finger on the issues at first, by the 50 minute will be able to not only put your finger on almost lose interest. The acting ranges from strong to very badly overacted, the subject matter is important, and technically it is passable as to what this movie needs to deliver somewhat. That being stated, this film felt like a special on CNBC or one of those news channels about the evils of sexual abuse by cults.

With Fox Searchlight, it just seems that each film they put out is geared towards either the art crowd or the older crowd. As long as the material and films are good, who really cares who they are gearing towards. But, a film like this almost is so slow building and so soft in its delivery that you know they were not about pushing limits or boundaries, they just wanted to give a nice victim film that is so safe, that a oscar committee could watch it and not feel threatened by its material. Again, I loved the innocence sort of by the lead character, she was so vulnerable and unaware, that it was just odd she was such a free spirit that she can skinny dip in front of people and walk in on people having sex and sleep on their bed while they are in the act. It made no sense.

At the end of the day, there is a new kind of film viewer and critic..that will watch a film like this and get into the experience and live thru the characters and tell you it is so amazing. This film to me, was not that bad. It was just so slow and the dialogue was so over the top in its delivery, that you know people do not talk like that unless they are in some bubble hidden from reality. Given that the film did not get any oscar nods or mentions, it is sad that the goal it wanted..was missed. Maybe next time, make a film with better pacing, and maybe ummmm…more watcher friendly and less oscar kissing up.

6 out of 10