Marnie - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Marnie Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2010
One of Hitchcock's later films, this has the beginnings of the psychologically disturbed young woman genre, surrounding one woman tormented by something she can't really remember. This was also used as a plot device in the very famous made-for-TV movie "Sibyl" and later horror films, but is used here to fuel the story of an unloved and criminally insane young woman. Marnie herself is a very interesting character, because instead of being marred by her past and becoming a timid young thing, she becomes a kleptomaniac, a rogue thief, and a sly underdog compared to Sean Connery, who arrives to calm her memories and make her whole once more. Though she is obviously a repressed character, both cunningly criminal and flawed, she is not shown as vulnerable. Instead of being truly empathetic to Marnie as a character, the film allows the character of Mark to swoop in and become her savior in a matter of minutes while also proving to be her jailer, and also her salvation. While it is true that Marnie is, again, repressed, Mark acts as a repressive force himself. He gives her a home and money, which he believes that she steals for her own survival, and acts as if he is doing her a service, while blackmailing her into marriage. He goes go on to almost rape her, hits her, and threatens her with police action and more violence. Mark also helps her confront her repressed demons, eventually becoming her love interest. By eliminating a psychotherapist from the book and replacing them with Mark, there is a lack of balance to their "relationship." Because of the lessening of characters from the book to the film, it becomes much more pointed a narrative and loses any dynamism, becoming a cretinous love story. The only relationship explored with any affinity, and shows an empathy towards Marnie's plight, is between her and her mother. Their relationship is portrayed as an embittered and loathsome one, full of lies and without the caring a mother should exhibit. That proves to be the best aspect of the film and somewhat of its saving grace, if you can get past the Neanderthal portrayal of Mark.
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2013
This movie is decent. I definitely wouldn't consider it one of Hitchcocks best films....
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2013
Hitch considers warped feminine mystique while entertaining his own warped sensibilities (naturally, and why not? ... his are okay, yah?) in this never boring look at a soul pulled back from the cliff of the lost by the hunter/warden/lover? (Sean Connery, brooding respectable charisma). Tippi is Hitch's willing victim again, and charming at it.
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2012
Hitchcock started to go downhill with this one, it's true, but, even though this film is a bit of a mess, it's not a complete and total loss. Basically, we've got a super disturbed woman named Marnie who is a compulsive thief ansd pathological liar. She's pretty bi-polar and has all sorts of unresolved issues.

She goes to work for a guy named Mark Rutland, and decides to rob him. Instead of turning her in, he's drawen to her, impulsively marries her, and becomes bound and determined to cure her of her mental issues. Not a whole lot of this makes much sense, and the pop psycholigy at work here is pretty bad.

Yet, despite the nuttiness and confusion of all of this, and the fact that it's really overblown and drawn out, I still sorta liked it. You've got a solid performance from Tippi Hedren, who really goes off the wall here, and Connery, though a bit creaky, does a decent enough job as Rutland.

The plot itself isn't all bad, but the screenplay is in need of some serious work. It was kinda hard for me to buy some of what was presented here, namely character motivations and the answers to Marnie's troubles. The film does look good though, and there's some excellent shots and sequences throughout, especially the safe robbery sequence. It's fairly suspenseful and pretty well done. Also, Bernard Herrmann's score (the last one he did for Hitch, I think) is also pretty nice.

The film is well meaning, but all over the place. Like I said, it's not a total failure, but it is pretty flawed. I was still entertained by it though, so take that as some sort of recommendation.
Super Reviewer
½ November 13, 2011
In my opinion a step up from The Birds, this film suffers from another poor performance from Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery doesn't really fit into the role.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
Marnie has the elements of a good Hitchcock film, but it isn't exactly in the same genre as most of his films: thrillers or horror or mystery. Instead this is a melodrama which includes a mystery. It's a thrilling romance, with racy (for the time) sex dialogue like North By Northwest. But it's more about emotions. Marnie is also like Psycho, the main character Marnie has some deep psychological problems involving something that happened with her mother, which affects her love life with Connery's character. Marnie is a thief, who is caught by Mark (Connery), who falls in love with her, but has to unravel the mystery of her past. It's a very intense melodrama, and one of my favourite Hitckcock movies, I highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2007
marnie is probably the most hard-edged lesbian in hitchcock movies: incredibly beautiful and elegant, but not interested in man at all, never curious about the secret of sex, which she resents fiercely. pathologically enamour of her mother, who she even tries to kiss and hug in great desperation. (molest mama?) this picture tells you about man's obsession with un-obtainable woman and his anxious vanity to melt her frigidity away as if that could give him great pleasure and sense of achievement for "catching something really wild" and un-tamable.

even the ending looks positive, marnie finds the cause of her problem and why she's so afraid of "red" (blood)...the only one marnie loves and shows affection for is her mother whom marnie thinks doesn't love her. in the end, marnie is consoled that her mother does love her but coy to demonstrate her passion for the child. thus marnie is a picture of a perverse romance between a parent and her child, instead of man and woman. and marnie says she would rather be with mark instead of jail, so could it be that he becomes the father figure she's never had in her life? and the sean connery character becomes the pateral figure who attempts to coach a die-hard lesbian into woman so he could finally "consummate" with her like a naughty daddy tickled by the idea of "incest"....could that be happy ending? or tragedy with a faux-relief because marnie now is finally willing to conform to this gentlemanly rapist and consents to be his hostage?

hitchcock askes the scriptor to add up the scene of attempted rape, and he has to fire the scriptor (who refuses that request) to have his ways of "raping marnie." there're also rumours (actually tippi hedren later admits some of them) that hitchcock's also highly "interested" in hedren but angery at her because of her persistent refusals . anyway, he wants to manipulate her life but she wishes to be independent. i assume that tension between hitchcock and hedren is projected into marnie.

the original cast was intended for grace kelly, who turned it down for being princess of morocco. but this picture fits better with tippi hedren. i do wonder how come it get so many bad critics? what's so bad about it? i think marnie's kinda refreshing with the most hard-boiled hitchcockian blonde ever! she's practically the biggest iceberg there and almost impossible to melt! hitchcock usually has a way to embody the hostility between man and woman (some degree of misogynism, you may say), such as vertigo. his man always wants to tame the proud woman and manipulate her into the ways he wishes her to be, as if he gets his kicks that way. that sympton is surely rendered through marnie with greatest obsessional violence.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2010
"The idea was to kill myself, not feed the damn fish."

I wanted to like Marnie. No one can claim that I didn't try. But every time the movie started to become interesting for me, it would take a wrong turn and I'd be back where I started: unhappy that I had finally found a Hitchcock movie that I didn't have at least somewhat of a favorable opinion of.

Marnie has a story that is much more complicated than it initially appears to be. On the surface, it's about a thieving young woman and the wealthy man who catches her in the act, but the movie explores psychological issues that go far beyond the simple plot setup. We discover that Marnie is quite the complex, damaged character, and then the movie becomes about finding out why she is the way she is. This is a dark movie, no doubt. There's little humor or lightheartedness to be found, and the dour atmosphere only increases as it goes on. I'm usually a fan of that, but not here.

I was surprised to be slightly disappointed in Tippi Hedren's performance. I loved her in The Birds, but in this movie she's so outshone by Diane Baker (in a much smaller role), that I can't help but be convinced that a different actress should have been found for the part. As for Connery, well...he was Connery. I had to constantly remind myself that this wasn't some odd, forgotten entry into the Bond franchise. Neither of the leads were suited for their roles, in my opinion.

Marnie just wasn't for me. I can appreciate it for its ambition and I hope to watch it again one day to a different result, but this was the least entertaining Hitchcock movie that I've seen. Beyond a few scenes (the part with Marnie and the cleaning lady and the scenes following the fox chase, for example), I failed to see his talented fingerprints on this film.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2010
Alfred Hitchcock did some great character work in his time, but his employment of psychology has always been unsubtle at best. The most obvious example of this is the long-winded, useless dissection of Norman Bates's criminal transvestism in Psycho, but it's even more blatant and pervasive in Marnie. We're made to understand very early in the film that Marnie has an unexplained fear of the color red; she sees a vase of flowers in her mother's house and tweaks out, and the screen floods with bright red light. Effective, if not a little over-the-top. What really pushes this device into hokey territory are its ten other occurrences throughout the course of the film. YES WE GET IT! BITCH IS AFRAID OF RED! For all the supposed stupidity running rampant in the films of today, the classics of fifty years ago sure weren't hurting for it either. Though it deserves credit for trying to get into its heroine's head, Marnie is scarcely more poignant or observant than any of today's half-assed psychological thrillers. To its credit, there are a few really interesting sections where answers and character traits are not force fed to us. One such scene occurs toward the beginning of the film, when Marnie is having a conversation with her mother, who is suspicious of all the money her daughter's spending. Marnie coyly informs her that the Bible says "money answereth all things," which deeply irritates her mother. Perhaps Marnie doesn't put much faith in religion, or perhaps she does, or perhaps she's just being a contrarian to get at her mother. Tippi Hedren is inconsistent and sort of hysterical through most of the movie, not quite the frigid resourceful thief we expect her to be, but her intelligent handling of this throwaway line tells us fifty times more about Marnie than Hitchcock's Freudian string pulling.

What I found most interesting about Marnie is the constant moral gray area it maneuvers through. Really, none of these people are decent, but there's a sick sort of interest in trying to figure out whether the movie is telling you that Sean Connery is. And believe me, he's not. Is the movie really trying to pass this manipulative pseudo-rapist off as a hero? The ending positions him as both Marnie's savior and her superior, which to me points at "yes." But then it's sympathetic toward Marnie the movie complex, or just confused? I'm thinking a little of both. Hitchcock's women have never been extremely strong, and are generally more reactive than proactive. Here Marnie often gets to push the action, but it's Mark who drives the story to its ultimate goal, which leaves us feeling a little cheated of a protagonist who works through her own problems. She's the more interesting character; she's the one we want to see taking the reins in the climax. Instead, we just get some horribly aged, cheesily filmed psychotic break.

This is generally accepted as one of Hitchcock's missteps, and though its stature as a female-centric melodramatic thriller is unique among his oeuvre, it's easy to understand its failures. I left the movie feeling that it occupied my time well, and I had been exposed to a captivating portrait of an unusual woman, but at the same time I though it sort of humiliated her and gave way too much credit to Mark. I guess you could say that my personal dissatisfaction with it was no fault of the movie's, but my own; the ideology at its core seems rocky to me, however, and I can't help but feel that the movie's portrayal of Marnie cold have been a little more even.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2010
I really never found anything particularly great about Marnie. It‚??s really odd and has about Two things going for it, Tippi Hedren giving a really loony performance and Hitchcock giving a lot of great looking shots. The rest of the film is just a mess. Sean Connery was horribly casted and gave one of the worst performances of his career. The writing is incredibly bland and the ending is extremely predictable and corny. I think it‚??s one of the worst ways of trying to have a character with homosexual feelings. She saw her mom getting sexually abused as a child so of course she‚??s going to hate men and have lesbian tendencies, what a horrible grasp of human emotions.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2008
A great Thriller, can I call this Movie a Thriller? A tiny bit over dramatized but absolutely recommendable for Hitchcock fans.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2007
If the story was at the same league of the master's direction it would be another flawless masterpiece in his body of work.
Hitchcock's skill behind the camera, his painstaking care and the awareness of where to put the camera at the right place at the right time, lifts the film's quality from a standard freudian melodrama ala spellbound; to a stylish, sexy, suspenseful and involving vertigo's little cousin.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2009
An underrated, still sophisticated Hitchcock exploring the depths of Freudian imagery and repression. Hitch takes his talent for suspense and injects it into something very different from his typical chase-and-evade scenes. I felt the old familiar nervousness during the robbery scene as the shoe drops, drops, drops out of the pocket, only to discover the cleaning lady is deaf. A wonderful scene serving a very different purpose than stock evasion. Although the ending seemed a little too simplistic, it invites you to examine more deeply into the psyches of not only Marnie but also her captor. Icy Hedren and smoking Connery create wonderful antithetical sparks amongst the super-risque material, rape scene included.
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2007
I think this just about proves that Sean Connery is an excellent actor outside Bond. At the time when Marnie was released, it recieved bad reviews. Why is a mystery to me. This film has everything you want in a film, and it also possesses that remarkable interest and captivating nature that you associate with a Hitchcock film. Again, the performance of Tippi Hedren was excellent, despite her ongoing row with Mr Hitchcock. The story is both believable and suspending. Alfred Hitchcock is "The Master of Suspense".

If you are a Hitchcock fan or not, you must watch this. This proves to be one of the best of the Hitchcock Collection.

I award this film 10/10. I love it and so will you.
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2007
One of Hitchcock's lesser works feels a little seedy, and the stars never seem entirely comfortable with their roles. The psychological revelation is powerful although rather glib and simplistic, but still strangely lingers in the memory more than most.
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2006
Where Hitchcock started to lose it. Not great but not bad.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2013
As the film opens, it's revealed that Marnie (Hedren) has just emptied the safe of an office where she used her feminine charms to be hired without references. Changing her hair color from black to auburn, she takes a new job at a company run by Mark (Connery) who, unbeknownst to her, is aware she is the culprit responsible for the earlier theft. After staying behind in the office one evening, Marnie relieves the safe of its contents but is later tracked down by Mark who uses the opportunity to blackmail her into marriage. When he discovers his new bride has an extreme reaction to the color red, Mark sets about discovering the reason behind her affliction.
The opening act of 'Marnie' contains some classic moments of Hitchcock's visual storytelling. The first sequence, Marnie walking away from the camera onto a train platform carrying a distinctive yellow handbag, immediately hooks us. Why aren't we seeing this character's face? Why are her nails painted pink rather than the traditional red? What's in that bulging handbag? We follow Marnie without seeing her face up until the moment when, having rinsed the black dye from her hair, she rises into view with a cheeky smile of satisfaction. The sequence detailing her studying the process by which the office safe is opened plays brilliantly by focusing solely on her attentive eyes. Her evening raid on the safe in question is a great moment of suspense as Marnie is unaware a cleaning lady is at work outside the office she's in the process of ransacking. Attempting to leave the building without being heard, Marnie puts her shoes in her coat pockets but one of them slowly works its way free, hitting the floor with a clatter. The twist is that the cleaning lady is deaf, allowing Marnie to escape.
Unfortunately, the film's remaining two acts are extremely troublesome. Hitch has put us into the shoes of Marnie so, when Mark forces her into marriage against her will, the story, in the mind of the audience at least, becomes focused on how she will escape. This isn't the story we're presented with, as Hitch uses the plot-line as a cheap way to introduce a twisted sexual element. Bizarrely, he asks us to identify with Mark, even after we've seen him rape his unwilling bride. The plot focuses on the question of why Marnie is "frigid", even though earlier we saw her happily exchange a kiss with Mark before he turned into a sex fiend. "Why won't she sleep with me?" asks Mark. "Because you're a psychopath!" the audience answers. Had the film been made twenty years earlier (and starred say, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman rather than the wooden Hedren and Connery), the sexual aspect wouldn't, or rather couldn't, have been brought up and instead it could have sat comfortably alongside the similarly themed psycho-drama 'Spellbound' or those more successful tales of twisted relationships, 'Rebecca' and 'Suspicion'. After a cracking first forty-five minutes, we spend the rest of the film wanting to beat Mark about the head with a weighty copy of 'Sexual Aberrations of the Criminal Female', the book he reads to get an insight into why women don't enjoy rape.
While it can't be classified as the last "classic Hitchcock", (that would be the preceding 'The Birds'), 'Marnie' acts as a bookend to his golden age, featuring the end of some significant collaborations. Cinematographer Robert Burks, editor George Tomasini, and production designer Robert Boyle would all end their association with Hitch after this film. Though Bernard Herrmann would go on to write an unused score for 'Torn Curtain', this would be the last time his evocative music would accompany Hitch's visuals, ending a film-maker/composer relationship which remains unsurpassed. 'Marnie' is one of his finest scores, though it's often unfairly criticized for being a 'Vertigo' knock-off.
Before 'Marnie', Hitch had found his time in Hollywood relatively trouble free. With a poor critical and financial reaction to the film, 'Marnie' would mark the beginning of the worst, and arguably the only poor, creative chapter in the director's long and illustrious career.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2014
A lot better of an effort than many Hitchcock fans will admit. A true psychological mystery that is advanced for its time with shocking revelations. Should be a classic.
Super Reviewer
½ October 15, 2010
Sean Connery completely carried this movie. He was knee deep in his James Bond career, so you get to see him in his prime. His character is such a likeable one too. Nice cameo from a young Bruce Dern in a flashback.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2011
Throughout the entire film, I couldn't help noticing the resemblance that Tippi Hedren has to Macaulay Culkin. She's isn't that much of a better actress than him either, but she gives a competent performance in this Hitchcock film which just begs for acceptance. It was very melodramatic at times, very campy dialogue, Sean Connery doesn't convince me of being an intellect who runs a business by day and reads psychology by night, and the entire repressed traumatized Marnie becomes very obvious from the first flash of red and we see one flash too many. The film is overlong and would've been much better if it was condensed and presented in a more concise manner. While the story is rather wacky, Hitchcock's great wizardry with this film is that he makes it work at times, however, the last 40 minutes or so get to be a bit much. the reason why Hitchcock deserves credit because of the great first 10 minutes of the film, which unfortunately the rest of the film doesn't live up to, and many other moment like that where through cinematic technique, wonderful pacing, and excellent use of Herrman's music, he makes the film actually interesting to watch. He makes Hedren and Connery interesting to watch. I bet if it was any other director that directed a film exactly like Hitchcock's, this would've been considered a classic. However, since it was from the great master of suspense himself, it has been judged alongside his greater works like Vertigo and North by Northwest which it is inferior to. Only if it had been shorter and perhaps the ending could've been presented differently, it would've been much more effective. By the time we do see the flashback which Marnie has repressed, it has become somewhat predictable and irritable that it took so long to get to it. Marnie's psychological illness was emphasized so much throughout the film that it was easy to see what would've happened and the fact that her mother was a prostitute just comes out of nowhere. Again, the film got a little desperate for approval around then and I desperately wanted it to end.
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