Saturday, November 19, 2011

11-19-11: There's no easy way out.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (2011) **** 102 mins. D: Sean Durkin. Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, Hugh Dancy.

After escaping from a cult, a young woman seeks refuge with her older sister and has great difficulty trying to assimilate to a normal life.

This solid dramatic thriller is most notable for the standout performance of Elizabeth Olsen. Olsen makes you feel the confusion, paranoia and awkwardness that has become her new life. She plays a wide range of emotions from one moment to the next that you really get the sense that this cult has really done a number on her psyche.

All the performances are very good. Paulson is strong as her sister who's frustration continues to mount as she tries to understand what her sister has been through. John Hawkes leaves an indelible impression as the cult leader both charming and deadly.

The film is well written with solid direction. Of note, this film has an ending that will either frustrate or intrigue the viewer. I'm in the latter.

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