Sunday, 6 January 2013


Martha Marcy May Marlene - poster Writer/Director: Sean Durkin
Running time: 98 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 3rd February 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 6th January 2013.


Very highly critically acclaimed; I couldn’t really miss this one out when it came up in the TV listings this week. A very interesting film; one that will certainly make you think; and also noteworthy for the performance of Elizabeth Olsen, which is quite excellent I might add. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Martha Marcy May Marlene - 4 We begin with Martha (Elizabeth Olsen), aka Marcy May, leaving the commune where she has lived for the past two years. She makes it to the nearest town where she phones her sister, Lucy (Sarah Paulson), who comes and takes her to here home by a lake, about three hours’ drive away. It turns out this is a holiday home for Lucy and her husband, Ted (Hugh Dancy); they usually live and work in New York City. As time passes we learn, via flashback, about Martha’s life in the commune. How the leader, Patrick (John Hawkes), used his influence to get everyone to bend to his will, and how there was a much darker side to things than might appear on the surface. All this has had a profound affect on Marcy and it soon begins to show itself… has she really broken away?

Martha Marcy May Marlene - 6 It’s all filmed with quite stark colours which, I think, gives more realism to the storyline. I have to praise Elizabeth Olsen for a tremendous performance; she made the part of Marcy very believable. I also thought John Hawkes played the manipulative Patrick very well also and Sarah Paulson did a more than decent job of the older sister, Lucy. I usually put something about how a film made me feel at this point; but I’m still struggling to figure that out. The ending is left quite open to interpretation which leaves me in (at least) two minds as to how I feel about it. It’s still well worth a look if you get the chance… I’d certainly be interested in what everyone else makes of it.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.5/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 21,043 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 76/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Martha Marcy May Marlene - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 90/100 (based on 185 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 15,636 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Martha Marcy May Marlene - 3 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Watts: [as Martha runs away] Marcy! Marcy May! Where ya goin'?

Lucy: I'm her only family, you know. She needs to know that she can depend on me right now. It's complicated.
Ted: As complicated as it might be, we can't ignore the fact that her behaviour is fucking insane.

Martha: [to Lucy] Just because we're sisters doesn't mean we need to talk about everything that comes into your head!

Martha Marcy May Marlene - 1 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

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