Martha Marcy May Marlene: Film #76 of Film 365

Sunday 11th September 2011

Director: Sean Durkin
Year: 2011
Stars: Elizabeth Olson, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy

Now this is more like it. Martha Marcy May Marlene was our fourth Toronto International Film Festival movie, and our first of two on the Sunday (our last day in Toronto before heading on to Montreal).

To say too much about the plot would ruin the movie, so I'll just say that Marcy May is the central character here, and at the beginning of the movie she moves in with her sister and her sister's partner. However, things are never simple and Marcy May turns out to be quite difficult to live with. There's a lot more to it than that, but certainly for me, the less I knew beforehand the better.

The other thing I have to mention is the ending. At first I wasn't sure whether I was really frustrated by it, or I could accept it. It clearly felt like the director had a reason for ending the movie that way (instead of the so-often lazy just not ending a story properly). The problem was, I really didn't understand what the reason was. Now this is perhaps the time I was most pleased I'd come to the film festival. The director was there during the screening, and answered questions from the audience. When asked why he had ended the movie the way he had, he had a really sound reason that made such perfect sense. I ended up liking the film more because of the ending, not less.

A brilliant effort on the part of the actors and the director, and a movie I'd happily recommend - and come and see again with you if you've got nobody to go with.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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About Me

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I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.