Martha Marcy May Marlene

Anybody seen this yet? Looks like it’s doing the slow rollout and opening a bit wider this weekend. I caught a snippet of the director talking on NPR about the film and loved hearing his distaste for blood and gore in horror movies and his preference for tension and suspense. I turned off the interview because I didn’t want to hear any spoilers, but the reviews and buzz for this one have me intrigued.

I haven’t seen it but I read a piece in Maclean’s that said that Elizabeth Olson is excellent in it. I’m intrigued by that alone.

I liked it. Olsen and John Hawkes are both quite good.

Finally got around to seeing this. I found it to be really frustrating. A ton of tension built in an interesting way but with no release or reward. People keep calling this a psychological thriller, but I kept waiting for it to get to a place where I had some sense of why exactly I was supposed to be afraid. I’m still a little ambivalent about the whole thing.

its too good and I just love to do this

-Do you ever have that feeling where you can’t tell if something is a memory or it’s something you dreamed?
-Not really. No.


I just got home from seeing this and first impressions…

Some of the direction was magnificent, some really fantastic choices in terms of camerawork and performance (the first robbery sequence opening shot was brilliant). Performance-wise it could have been stronger in places, I actually felt some of the supporting players were the most interesting performances but the leads did great jobs. the very first husband/wife scene between Marcy’s sister was terrible but that was the only stand-out weak bit for me.

The structure was also fantastic until the end which for me just didn’t quite work. I feel like the mise-en-scene really made the structure difficult, it’s tone being quite objective and detached. This added a lot of layers to the characters but muddled the narrative for me. The ending suffered for me because if the film were more straightforward that ending would have been expanded (at least to an Easy Rideresque ending), I think really ending on the scene just before would’ve been cleaner but I think Tom was right when (in another thread) he made the point of the ending not really telling us enough about Marcy.

I have to say the hipness of the costume put me off at first and I do think it lost some focus on reality because everyone looked like American Apparel (who got a thanks in the credits) models. It irked me a bit that they shared clothes, yet everyone’s clothes seemed to fit very stylishly.

Kinda surprised there aren’t more comments in this thread.

Re: direction. I appreciated how often they simply just focused on Martha’s reaction to the people around her. The only instance I can recall is during the song, but if you think about it, it’s weird how movies typically focus on the person saying something, rather than on how people are reacting to what they say.

A lot of people have called Martha an unreliable narrator, and I’m not sure that’s entirely true. There’s no evidence that anything portrayed, either at the cult, or at the sister’s house, is untrue. It’s more that Martha is paranoid, and interprets events that way. For example, we have no reason to think pinecones aren’t falling on the roof; but that she’s terrified of them.

As for the ending, I initially was baffled, but I think it’s actually perfect. Martha’s paranoid, and filters the world through that. Healing beyond that paranoia would require a whole new movie.

There’s a little more discussion in the podcast thread here:

And by discussion I mean I ramble on aimlessly and everybody ignores me.

I just got back from this, and already it took me a good five minutes to remember what the ending was.

I’ll take Take Shelter any day, but I can see where you’d call this a psychological thriller. I don’t really see why people would lump this in with the horror genre though.

I think I feel about the same way about Martha Marcy May Marlene as I did about We Need to Talk About Kevin. Great acting & mostly great direction putting you right in the character’s head, but in service of an otherwise uninteresting story that’s a bit too disjointed for its own good.

I can’t wait to see what this girl does next.

Me either!


Oh wow, that opens here this week! Of course, the same time it opens in theaters, our theaters will shut down for the film fest. I’ve got mixed feelings about that now.

I’ve been watching this for the past few days. Obviously not a pleasant watch, but very compelling. Overall I liked the movie a lot. Heads up on the multiple rape scenes, obviously.

It’s a great example of a movie that only really works because of its dual time lines. This movie wouldn’t work very well at all if it was written as a linear story.