Martha Marcy May Marlene Reviews

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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
March 18, 2014
In quiet, intimate ways, it is one of the most startling, haunting films you'll see all year.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
March 18, 2014
Durkin intersperses the present-day scenes with increasingly revelatory flashbacks from Martha's two years in the cult.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
February 18, 2012
MMMM emphasizes the social and economic discrepancies between Martha's then and now, and alludes to Lucy's guilt about not being there for her younger sister in the past.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
January 31, 2012
Once we've got over the frustration of this promising film's abrupt ending, we're left with the feeling that you can escape a cult but you can't escape yourself.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Tom Long
Detroit News
November 4, 2011
A purposely disturbing portrait of a damaged psyche.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
November 4, 2011
Durkin depicts a horror that some among us actually live, where the search for family leads to something familiar and dangerous.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 4, 2011
"Martha Marcy May Marlene" will stick with you.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 3, 2011
Sean Durkin's compulsively watchable first film is a psychological thriller camouflaged as an Ingmar Bergman-style country-house drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
November 3, 2011
Hawkes is, as ever, outstanding. But Olsen is a wonder.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
November 3, 2011
The horror aesthetic of B-movie producer Val Lewton -- that the unseen is more frightening than the seen -- is carried to a merciless extreme in this unnerving debut feature by writer-director Sean Durkin.
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
October 28, 2011
Olsen's performance is a triumph of constraint.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
October 28, 2011
Shot in long, quiet takes of bucolic idylls, "Martha Marcy May Marlene" sneaks up on viewers with a barely perceptible sense of oncoming dread.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
October 27, 2011
Masterful.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 27, 2011
Two long hours of murky photography and slow-motion storytelling, in which the audience is always 10 scenes ahead of the action.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 27, 2011
Sean Durkin's debut feature gets under your skin and burrows there; you can't quite shake it off.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 27, 2011
The film has its gimmicky aspects but Olsen is haunting: She grounds the slim premise and makes it worthwhile.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 27, 2011
Olsen inhabits Martha's broken world completely. And at the movie's end - a jarring, boldly ambiguous end - we're in her head, too, not sure what is real, and what is not.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 27, 2011
Durkin immerses the viewer in a fluid state of psychological dissolution, keeping us very close to one woman's experience in a cult by any other name.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 27, 2011
Olsen's unlined face is like the unbroken water of a deep lake, reflecting both innocence and guile as she maintains a marvelous and inscrutable presence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 27, 2011
A good film, ambitious and effective, introducing a gifted young actress and a director whose work I'll anticipate.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 26, 2011
First-time feature director Sean Durkin combines an understated style with an unaffected performance from Elizabeth Olsen with superlative results.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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William Goss
Film.com
October 21, 2011
Olsen nails her perpetual state of worry so keenly that it elevates her struggle to the scale of existential tragedy.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 21, 2011
"Martha Marcy May Marlene" isn't much of a movie, but it's a great introduction.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
October 21, 2011
Two enthralling new talents announce themselves in "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
October 21, 2011
First-time filmmaker Sean Durkin, who also wrote the screenplay, has a confident voice and a clear vision.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
October 20, 2011
"Martha Marcy May Marlene" is an utterly gripping ride that will keep you guessing until the last second about what is real and what imagined, and whether Martha has entirely snapped the tether of sanity.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 20, 2011
The story hinges on a believable lead performance, and Olsen is mesmerizing in her first film role. She starts out wide-eyed and vulnerable and eventually assumes the look of a captive, communicating raw paranoia with subtle gestures.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
October 20, 2011
It's one thing for a work of art to ambiguously reveal depths of emotion and meaning; it's something else again to dangle the promise of meaning that never arrives.
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October 20, 2011
A confidently spooky indie debut.
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Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
October 20, 2011
It slowly but assuredly packs on the dread and the discomfort in a style that Roman Polanski would admire, resulting in the kind of movie you can feel tensing up the base of your spine.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 20, 2011
Elizabeth Olsen gives a sensational performance in a gripping psychological thriller, from gifted first-time writer-director Sean Durkin.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
October 20, 2011
What writer-director Sean Durkin has given us is an existential thriller about identity and just how tenuous a grasp we have on who we really are.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
October 20, 2011
A bit too coy, too clever and too diffident to believe in.
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 20, 2011
One of the ingenious things about Martha Marcy May Marlene is how precisely the film is constructed, constantly drawing you in closer while making you dread what's coming.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Noel Murray
AV Club
October 20, 2011
The confusion of Martha Marcy May Marlene proves effective, not sloppy.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
October 19, 2011
Ms. Olsen, a revelation throughout, feeds every scene with poignancy. It's an alarming but gratifying achievement.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Keith Uhlich
Time Out
October 18, 2011
A lesser movie might hammer home the idea that the cult squashes Martha's sense of self. This distinctive and haunting effort implies something much scarier: that there is no self to start with.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
October 18, 2011
A deft, old-school psychological thriller (or perhaps horror film) that relies mainly on the power of suggestion and memories of hippie cult crazies.
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Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
October 18, 2011
Martha Marcy May Marlene stands among the best films of 2011.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
October 17, 2011
Like [Michael] Haneke, Durkin -- remarkably, making his first feature -- specializes not in apocalyptic grandeur but in the creak and the tinkle of the uncanny.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
October 17, 2011
The non-ending turns the whole movie into an elaborate tease, too creepy to dismiss, too shallow to justify its "ambiguities."
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Mike D'Angelo
AV Club
May 16, 2011
Olsen gives a magnificently ambiguous performance that will instantly eclipse any snarky comments about her famous siblings, and Durkin knows precisely how much information to reveal and how much to leave frighteningly implicit.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
May 16, 2011
A star-making turn from the Olsen twins' baby sis will put this disturbing drama on the map.
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Peter Debruge
Variety
January 22, 2011
A sensitive treatment of a sensational subject that heralds the arrival of talented tyro Sean Durkin behind the camera and promising new star Elizabeth Olsen.