MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

This film tries so hard to be “arty” that it completely lost me. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (MMMM from here on), is about a young woman who escapes from a cult and runs back to her only family, her sister. Nothing is overt in this movie. You have to pay attention and watch as the plot unfolds to determine how Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) got into the cult, how she grew to become a part of it and how she eventually felt she had to bolt. But what they cult is about is anyone's guess. It's an unfocused cult of slackers best I can figure. It has a charismatic leader (or one who is supposed to be) in John Hawkes. He's creepy good, but doesn't have much to work with. We know Martha has left and eventually we find out why, but we have no clue why this incredibly broken woman went to her sister and what she wants now. Olsen is very good, but again doesn't have a lot to work with (She got all the talent in the family, her sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley got the fame). And the final scene is so maddeningly ambiguous that I sat scratching my head for minutes afterword. It didn't really deserve much more introspection than that. The lack of dialogue isn't a bad thing in a movie (see DRIVE for a good example), but to leave the audience almost completely in the dark about what's going on makes them lose interest. All I can say about MMMM is meh. — Alan Yudman

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