Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) – Sean Durkin

Sad tale about an escapee from a cult trying to re-indoctrinate herself into the normal world with not much help from her sister and brother-in-law who don’t understand. It doesn’t help that Martha (or Marcy May as she was called in the cult) doesn’t understand herself. This is a pathetic portrait of a tragic life getting used and bullied by one ideology after another. In a year where some heavy hitters have given fine performances about mental illness (Kirsten Dunst in Meloncholia and Kiera Knightly in A Dangerous Method), newcomer Elizabeth Olson gives another. John Hawkes is terrific as usual as the cult’s charismatic but terrifying leader and Hugh Darcy is very good as the brother-in-law and mirror image to the cultist.

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