Martha Marcy May Marlene - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Martha Marcy May Marlene Reviews

March 18, 2014
In quiet, intimate ways, it is one of the most startling, haunting films you'll see all year.
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
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+
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
November 4, 2011
A purposely disturbing portrait of a damaged psyche.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
November 4, 2011
Durkin depicts a horror that some among us actually live, where the search for family leads to something familiar and dangerous.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
November 4, 2011
"Martha Marcy May Marlene" will stick with you.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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
November 3, 2011
Hawkes is, as ever, outstanding. But Olsen is a wonder.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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.
October 28, 2011
Olsen's performance is a triumph of constraint.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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
October 27, 2011
Masterful.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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
October 27, 2011
Sean Durkin's debut feature gets under your skin and burrows there; you can't quite shake it off.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
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
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
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
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.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
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
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
October 21, 2011
Olsen nails her perpetual state of worry so keenly that it elevates her struggle to the scale of existential tragedy.
October 21, 2011
"Martha Marcy May Marlene" isn't much of a movie, but it's a great introduction.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
October 21, 2011
Two enthralling new talents announce themselves in "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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
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.
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
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.
Top Critic
October 20, 2011
A confidently spooky indie debut.
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.
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
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
October 20, 2011
A bit too coy, too clever and too diffident to believe in.
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
October 20, 2011
The confusion of Martha Marcy May Marlene proves effective, not sloppy.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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
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
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.
October 18, 2011
Martha Marcy May Marlene stands among the best films of 2011.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
October 17, 2011
Marked by patient long-takes and the uneasy quietude that accompanies Martha's constant disconnect from her surrounding environment, Martha derives much of its power from a stark visual style that's easily readable as the sum of its part.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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.
October 17, 2011
The non-ending turns the whole movie into an elaborate tease, too creepy to dismiss, too shallow to justify its "ambiguities."
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-
May 16, 2011
A star-making turn from the Olsen twins' baby sis will put this disturbing drama on the map.
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.