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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

After two years, a young girl (Elizabeth Olsen) escapes from an abusive cult and goes to live with her sister (Sarah Paulson) and her husband (Hugh Dancy). But adjusting to a "normal" life proves difficult. Written and directed by Sean Durkin, who expanded his award winning short film MARY LAST SEEN to feature length into MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE. This is one of those disturbing films that you realize are special and superbly done but can take no genuine pleasure in watching. It's a painful watch and, of course, it was meant to be. In her breakthrough role, Elizabeth Olsen is stunning. She gets thoroughly under her character's skin and we can readily see her conflicting emotions and confusion and pain. Sarah Paulson as her estranged sister is also very, very good. As the cult leader, John Hawkes is fine although not charismatic enough that we can see why these young people would follow him unquestioningly. In fact, he comes off as rather creepy but then so did Charles Manson. The ambiguous ending disturbed me, I just wished there was at least a glimmer of hope. With Brady Corbet and Maria Dizzia.

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