MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE stars Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a damaged woman haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, who struggles to reassimilate with her family after fleeing a cult.
Excerpt from Geek Tyrant's Review:
Olsen deserves all the acclaim she's receiving for her performance here; she's superb, and she convincingly takes the audience on a journey of shattered memories and paranoia as we start to experience her recovery along with her. The editing of this movie was gimmicky - it cross cuts between Martha's present time living with her sister and her sister's husband, and flashbacks of her cult life - but the transitions between the two time periods are very well done. Normally I'dsee a technique like this as being a bit too contrived, but Durkin's writing and direction make the cross cuts feel like an organic progression.
Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes was phenomenal; like The Ledge's Patrick Wilson has a lock on the creepy suburban archetype, Hawkes has playing the backwoods patriarch down to a science. He also gets to show off a bit of his musical skill set, playing guitar and singing the disquieting "Marcy's Song" in the movie. He's alternatingly charismatic and horrifying, much like Michael Parks' cult leader figure in Kevin Smith's Red State. He gives the girls who come to his commune new names to separate them from their past, and builds their self-confidence by essentially brainwashing them into servitude (sexual and otherwise).