Martha Marcy May Marlene


Martha Marcy May Marlene

Critics Consensus

Led by a mesmerizing debut performance from Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene is a distinctive, haunting psychological drama.



Total Count: 204


Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,347
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Movie Info

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

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Critic Reviews for Martha Marcy May Marlene

All Critics (204) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (183) | Rotten (21)

Audience Reviews for Martha Marcy May Marlene

  • May 22, 2016
    Something that is worth a watch. Elizabeth Olson give a great performance as an unstable cult escapee who still is uncomfortable in her return to the outside world.
    Kameron W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2015
    Martha Marcy May Marlene starts better than it ends. Elizabeth Olson plays a sympathetic lead in an intense role. One expects there to be some kind of character development, some payoff for the emotional investment in the main character that the film builds up. Unfortunately, plotwise, the film devolves into a vehicle for cheap thrills and goes nowhere. One wishes it would have been more, but for what it is, it is still worth a view. Recommended to those interested in social dynamics and what life is like for people caught up in cults.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2015
    Subtlety is the key to this film. Everything simmers below the surface.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2013
    Elizabeth Olsen makes her cinematic debut in Sean Durkin's 'Martha Marcy May Marlene', a psychological thriller about life after escaping (?) a cult and the paranoia that accompanies it. MMMM is an accomplishment of atmospheric filmmaking, with first-time director Durkin managing to shroud every moment of regular life with a sense of unease and brooding tension that usually wouldn't be there. Some shots last for what feels like an eternity whilst others pass within seconds, some moments you think you see something whilst in others you feel it, you never know what is -or isn't- coming and its gripping. The editing also adds to the sense of unease within the film, flitting between protagonist Martha's life at the cult and her current one without a moments notice. Everything within the way the film is made feels like it's out to get you, and, much like Martha, you don't know if it is or not. As far as performances are concerned Olsen does an outstanding job, playing Martha with a sense of subtlety and fragility that is skill-wise unmatched by the rest of the cast. John Hawkes also does a great job as the cult's charismatic leader, blurring the line between kindness and cruelness in an always-interesting fashion. Perhaps the film's only flaw is the way some of its characters react, with Martha's sister and brother in-law in particular coming off occasionally as so plundering its silly. Verdict: A great debut for both its star and director, Martha Marcy May Marlene is an intense ride.
    Cameron S Super Reviewer

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