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Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011; Rated Rated R)

Martha Marcy May Marlene
A-
 

“Elizabeth Olsen deserves Oscar consideration.”

-Richard Roeper

Martha Marcy May Marlene Review

Martha Marcy May Marlene

(2011; R)

In theaters:
Friday, 21 October 2011

Genre:
Crime, Drama, Family, Mystery

Cast:
Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes

COMMENTS(2)
 
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News Hit said on Sunday, October 30, 2011 11:51:51 PM
This film does not have a story: a story develops and asks different questions of its character by the end than it did at the start, which this film does not (in fact, it asks the exact same question in its first act).

The film did not even pose interesting dilemmas for the lead character, either: by the end, we are more concerned with the actions of other people than Martha, which suggests weak characterisation on the part of the screenwriter (despite the impressive performance by Olsen, who shows star quality with her understated work).

Also, there is no way that Hawkes will be nominated for "Martha Marcy May Marlene." The character is such a one-note bore, and Hawkes does little with the role to distinguish it from his other performances. I don't know why this character is meant to be all that brilliant or multi-dimensional: the dude is a creep from his first scene, hence making the violence less sudden or shocking than tediously inevitable. The only thing that surprised me was that it took Marth so long to realise that the Hawkes character is capable of shocking violence.

A recent film that is similar – but far superior – is the Michael Shannon film, Take Shelter. It – like Sean Durkin's film – has a circular structure, but we are made to ask different questions of its characters by the end of the film, questioning our initial responses to the character's earlier behaviour. It also has a sense of resonance: whilst both films have ambiguous endings, Take Shelter creates a feeling of catharsis because the lead character undergoes a tremendous emotional choice by the end, something which Martha never does.

You know when you are watching a film and think - of all the actors - that Hugh Dancy has the most personality, then the film has problems.

Darin Grant said on Saturday, October 22, 2011 1:39:26 AM
Oh boy, oh boy, Richard! Now I am even MORE excited to see this film that ALL of the critics are buzzing about! Can't wait!
Great review, as always. Insightful, exciting, unique, and of course, enthusiastic. Who wouldn't be after how terrific this film apparently is? Well done.
A question for you, though. Why did you give it only an A-? You call it "one of the best films of the year" and heap on (with good reason, mind you) praise after praise, but yet don't give it an A+, or at least an A? Not saying it's bad, just wondering.

Keep up the great work!

Cheers,

 
 
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