MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Elizabeth Olsen and Sarah Paulson in a scene from ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’

VERY GOOD MOVIE! Creepy, smart, beautiful. I watched it a couple of weeks ago and it has haunted me since. Sean Durkin wrote and directed this tense film about a young woman who leaves (escapes?) a cult and goes to stay with her sister and her sister’s husband in their country house. Elizabeth Olsen plays the young woman and Sarah Paulson plays her sister. I was especially happy to see Sarah Paulson in this film as I adored her in Down With Love (a verrry fun comedy/romance with Ewan McGregor and ReneĆ© Zellweger)

MMMM is worth watching for it’s use of flashbacks alone. I love subjective cinema and this is a terrific example in that genre. Or… category? Can you call it a genre? Anyway, the story cuts between the present and the past at the cult, and there was one shot where I literally didn’t know where we were supposed to be, but in the best way! The protagonist was so messed up and I felt Durkin did a great job of conveying that through the structure of the film. It was confusing without being confusing, if that makes any sense. If you’ve seen it- the shot I’m referring to is the one where Olsen is on her hands and knees, cleaning the floor, and you hear a male voice asking what she’s doing…

Also worth a watch is Durkin’s short film Mary Last Seen (it was included on the DVD I rented). It’s built around the same topic (young women & cults), but shows how someone might get into one, as opposed to get out. It’s a great example of very visual storytelling and I found it to be rich, inspiring, and totally chilling. Durkin deservedly won a prize at Cannes for the film. Check it out if you can!

 

 

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