As much as I recommended against “The Skin I Live In” I am recommending for “Martha Marcy May Marlene”. This is a definite must see, but don’t expect it to cheer you up if you are beginning to get the Winter Blues. It is not a happy film.
The Olsen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley are not the only ones who were blessed with acting genes in their family. Little sister Elizabeth stars in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” , and her breakout performance is flawless. She is beautiful, damaged, confused, and more and all of these emotions play out honestly and convincingly.
Have you ever wondered what happens to children who lose their parents too soon, regardless of the circumstances? Sometimes they are left floundering and end up in the hands of the first person or people who seem to really care for them, no matter how insane and awful their circumstances may be. Think cults. This is what happens to the film’s namesake… she somehow ends up in an upstate New York cult home, led by a charismatic Charlie-Manson like man. This cult lives off the land for the most part, shunning material possessions, unless they are short for cash in which case they will stop at nothing.
Martha finds herself at the heart of this community home, finally feeling that she has a family of her own. And, as the movie unfolds, you may find yourself questioning which home is worse… this newly found cult, or her birth family, where only her selfish and uncommunicate older sister and her new husband remain.
See this film. You will love it. It is filmed beautifully, and it weaves between Martha’s life upstate with her cult, and her life with her sister and brother-in-law when she decides to escape.
It will break your heart. Elizabeth Olsen is sure to be a big star. Hugh Dancy is great too as a raging young real estate entrepreneur, struggling to make a lot of money and lead a household. John Hawkes, as the frightening cult leader, is brilliant, and there is already buzz that he will be nominated for an Oscar. We saw him last in “Winter’s Bone”, where he was also a haunting character, but he truly shines here.
Definitely two very big thumbs up for “Martha Marcy May Marlene”.