Martha Marcy May Marlene - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Martha Marcy May Marlene Reviews

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April 24, 2016
The points that standout are the screenplay's before/after toggling of protagonist's life, Elizabeth Olsen's persona and fantastic voice diction during emotional scenes. Even the choice of the premise to capture the mind of a escapee from an abusive cult is interesting. With overall good performances and a well thought out screenplay does enough to hold the viewer's attention while making us feel the protagonist's confusion, ideology and depression.

Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) runs off from an abusive cult and calls her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) who she has not communicated with over the last 2 years. She is currently living with her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy) in a spacious lake side home. While they welcome and try to do right by Martha, her inability to fit into the society, the memories from the past haunts her into depression, outbursts of emotion and anger pushes the couple to the limits on how much they can take it anymore.

Elizabeth Olsen is not just a pretty face but also a charmer. She didn't look like an actor on the screen but a real person going through real turmoil and agony which was the only reason I could finish the movie. The gimmick of toggling screenplay always do not work right. I hated 21 grams for it. But the way the past and present are intertwined here is systematic, purposeful and well connected. What the protagonist feels for the cult is not hatred but just fear as she discusses some ideologies that has rubbed on her, some new things she learned thus establishing the fact that nothing in life is just black or white. The reason how she delves deeper into the cult from being skeptical to committed and to the point that makes her runaway shows tremendous writing prowess.
The screenplay is also thoughtful by carefully revealing the concepts of adjusting to society, her thoughts and perceptions as well as of others others towards her and placing hints of her past on what led to this. So huge credit to Olsen and the director Sean Durkin to bring life to an otherwise uninteresting plot. The cinematography felt intentionally dark while showing picturesque locations and the background score never came out of the background.

Olsen and screenplay brings life to an otherwise depressing story without a purpose.
½ April 23, 2016
So-so film. Nothing really spectacular, a bit predictable. Watched it just for Elizabeth Olsen.
April 9, 2016
This atmospheric psychological drama about a young woman battling depression and recurrences of her cult past is as baffling as the abrupt open ending.
½ April 2, 2016
good, sort of disturbing
March 6, 2016
I hate open ends, where is the climax if things just.... are left without answers? Freaky sects and brain wash and then... nothing. The film is not bad, until the very end. Which there is not.
December 25, 2015
Elizabeth Olsen gives a brilliant debut performance as a traumatized young woman dealing with paranoia after escaping a dangerous cult. A must see.
December 17, 2015
Boring. Poorly directed.
December 6, 2015
Classic "sloppy filmmaking to show the disarray of the main character". Seems to serve a purpose here a bit more in some other cases though. Elizabeth Olsen does well.
½ October 18, 2015
I only have watched a half of it, because of some nudity and sexual activity i can't watch this in public (people around), obviously, gonna continue to watch if i'm alone. It's a pretty exciting movie, wanna see how your reality and delusion could get blur? How is that happened? a traumatic event perhaps? yeah i think so..
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 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.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2015
Subtlety is the key to this film. Everything simmers below the surface.
September 4, 2015
It's a good film, though the ending is... intriguing. It's kinda one of those films that seems to be boring but actually aren't. The acting is great too.
½ July 31, 2015
Martha Marcy May Marlene (what a mouthful) is an accomplished thriller teetering on the edge of greatness. A slow burn if ever there was one, the film concerns a paranoid woman named Martha (Elizabeth Olson is phenomenal), who, after leaving an abusive cult, tries to re-adjust to a normal life with her sister. The narrative is split, with half the film told in present tense and the other half shown in a series of flashbacks detailing Martha's time with the cult. As such, the film works on two levels, as both a chilling examination of cult mentality and as a sharp juxtaposition of two opposite lifestyles. What holds the film back is its enigma. While director Sean Durkin weaves a haunting portrait of lives on the fringe, his film doesn't fully coalesce to anything beyond the obvious, and the ending -- if you can call it an ending -- begs the question, "Is that all there is?" There's appeal in Durkin's ambiguity, but also a measure frustration.
½ July 23, 2015
Elizabeth Olsen is fantastic in this creepy character-driven drama that depicts both life during and after becoming part of a cult. [A]
July 8, 2015
So intense, beautifully shot. Great, great d├ębut from the director Sean Durkin and it's star Elizabeth Olsen. What a performance by Elizabeth Olsen! There's no way going around without praising her performance.

Film editing is just so good, I felt lost between the scenes. So good that even I got lost along with the broken, lost and paranoid character that Elizabeth Olsen plays.

The Score makes sure you're into it but also gives you the paranoid feeling you have while watching it.

A chilling, disturbing but also weirdly thought provoking thriller!

Second watch in three years and still gives me this void-feel.

July 4, 2015
The topic of the movie sounded very promising, however it was quite boring and disappointing. The characters didn't seem to have any substantial development and the different conflicts, between the protagonist and the sister or the protagonist and the cult were not allowed to involve. It was filmed very beautifully and the setting of the house helped create the isolation that the film tried to portray.
½ June 30, 2015
This as a pretty good movie, but I really wish the ending would have been different.
½ June 24, 2015
A quiet, brooding & disturbing film about losing yourself by way of a brainwashing cult. Olson & Hawkes are riveting. Quite honestly, one of the most haunting films I've ever witnessed. This one stuck with me for days.
May 31, 2015
Martha Marcy May Marlene! This film was amazing, everything about it was amazing. My favourite thing about it is the cinematography or the acting, both of those were phenominal. The score was frightening and very effective in the scenes where it was used. This is arthouse at its best with a clear, but very disturbing story, and it makes this movie a masterpeice in film and a movie that you should definatley watch, i was surprised with the movie because the trailer didn't look amazing, but the critic score made me watch it and the critics are right, this movie is amazing. i highly reccomend this film!
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