Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson
Written and directed by Sean Durkin
Fox Home Entertainment 2012
Little in life has a clear explanation or ending. Most movies ignore that fact. Martha Marcy May Marlene is a psychological thriller that is aware most stories are incomplete and unclear. By the end of the movie the viewer knows a little bit about the main character and her story but not really enough. This does not get in the way of enjoying this moody and original story.
Martha contacts Lucy after being gone for two years. Lucy picks up her sister and brings her home with her. It soon becomes clear Martha is not quite normal and has been through some weird stuff. Lucy and her husband do not quite know how to deal with Martha.
The viewer learns through more or less chronological flashbacks that Martha was living in a commune lead by a guy named Patrick. The flashbacks do not say everything but the nature of this commune – cult and of Martha’s experience in it as Marcy May gradually proves to be rather disturbing.
Writer director Sean Durkin reveals just enough to keep the story and characters moving but by the end of Martha Marcy May Marlene you do not know everything that happened. A patient viewer is given enough information to figure out how Martha became Marcy May and maybe why she left.
The ending leaves the story open ended but pay attention to the guy in the white t-shirt in the last two scenes before the final one.
Special features on this Blu-ray psychological thriller include a Making Of, a music video, The Psychology of a Cult, Spotlight on Elizabeth Olsen, and the short film Mary Last Seen (also on the DVD) which lead to Martha Marcy May Marlene. Also on the Blu-ray are A Conversation with Filmmakers and The Story but neither reveal much if any more information