Monday, 20 February 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Completely out of the blue Lucy (Sarah Paulson) gets a telephone call from her sister Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) sounding very stressed, she has not seen or heard her from for over two years!! Collecting her estranged sibling at an isolated bus stop in upstate New York Lucy she takes her back to a luxurious lakeside holiday home in Connecticut where she is on vacation with her British born husband Ted (Hugh Dancy). Regrettably the longer Martha stays with her bourgeois sister the more suspect her behaviour becomes and the deeper her paranoia. The reason for Martha’s disappearance and her subsequent bizarre behaviour is unclear but gradually it’s revealed through a series of flashbacks. I don’t wish to give to much as it will spoil your enjoyment of the film but I can reveal that the obviously troubled Martha has been living on a social commune tucked up in the Catskill Mountains under the tutorage of the collective’s charismatic leader Patrick (John Hawkes).

Elizabeth Olsen and John Hawkes.
It’s hard to believe that Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) is Mary-Kate and her twin Ashley Olsen’s younger sister Elizabeth’s debut film, as her performance is so astonishingly good, garnering much praise from some very hard-nosed critics! Equally compelling is John Hawkes creepy portrayal of Patrick who you will remember was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Winters Bone (2010). Directed and written by Sean Durkin this independent movie is a rather deep and serious psychological drama that poses more questions than it answers, but none the worse for it.  Disturbing, haunting and well worth seeing.

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