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Martha Marcy May Marlene

T. Sean Durkin
Hugh Dancy, Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson
Running Time: 

Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that the ending of Martha Marcy May Marlene made the movie. I’m not sure I can say that the film grabbed me from the beginning because it was a slow story that relied heavily on buildup. But, in the end, all that matters is that I didn’t leave disappointed.

Martha, who also is named Marcy May and Marlene, has been in a cult for the last two years. When she finally runs away to reunite with her sister and brother-in-law, life becomes even more complicated, as Martha has a hard time emotionally dealing with her experiences, and the past continues to follow her.

The acting is so strong that I almost forgot that I was in a theatre with an audience. I’d say the casting was done well; John Hawkes is terrifyingly creepy as the cult leader. Yet, mostly it was the performance of Elizabeth Olsen that captured the movie’s tone.

Though my initial expectations were low, I found the directing as well as the script to be solid. And the serious subject of Martha Marcy May Marlene is difficult to watch, but truly captures the eeriness of cults. For me, Martha Marcy May Marlene was a pleasant surprise.  If you’re prepared for that, you’ll certainly enjoy this film.