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Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  21 December 2011 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 38,156 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 184 user | 340 critic | 38 from

Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bartender (as Adam Thompson)
Man in Home #2
Lauren Molina ...
Cult Member
Louisa Braden Johnson ...
Cult Member
Cult Member
Man in Home #1


Martha has run away from an abusive hippie-like cult where she was living as Marcy May for two years. She turns to her sister and brother-in-law who take her in and want to help her. The problem is Martha is having a hard time separating dreams from reality and when haunting memories of her past keep resurfacing, she may need more help than anyone is able to give her. Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

21 December 2011 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

La fuga di Martha  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$137,651 (USA) (21 October 2011)


$2,981,638 (USA) (3 February 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Elizabeth Olsen and Sarah Paulson invented together some background for the sisters' relationship. So every scene when they talked about their past, although it's vague on the script and for the viewer, Olsen and Paulson knew exactly what Martha and Lucy are talking about. See more »


When Marcy/Martha wakes up after freaking out at her sister's party, she is wearing heavy, perfectly applied makeup. Since she had previously had an emotional breakdown, then slept, this is unlikely. See more »


[first lines]
Watts: [as Martha runs away] Marcy! Marcy May! Where ya goin'?
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Episode #9.1 (2012) See more »


Screaming on the Inside
Written by Devon Anderson
Performed by Devon Anderson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

More Than Meets the Eye
6 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sean Durkin's first feature is quite the trip. Durkin's sensibility as a director shines with this film, and shows undeniable promise. The really crazy thing about this film is that it's quietness is only juxtaposed by the really messed up things that are happening in the plot. An intriguing analytical mess of reality, memory, and fantasy, Martha Marcy May Marlene is about a paranoia, an extreme desire to escape the past, though it always comes back to haunt you. It is the isolation and the trouble that comes with that, that Martha really suffers from-- the cult has a certain way of thinking and the film geniously explores the psychological persuasion into a way of thinking…the way that the cult tries to make their ethics and morality universal is a terrifying, and intriguing thing. Elizabeth Olsen does a helluva job as Martha, giving her dewey eyed complexity, both bewilderment, shock, disgust, and intrigue. She gives quiet moments great momentum, and is an actress to keep an eye on. Jody Lee Lipes' cinematography is eerily distant and then uncomfortably close; the mixed bag reflects Martha's psyche in an interesting way. The scariest thing about Martha Marcy May Marlene is that it actually could happen. It may have even benefited from taking that dive a bit further, let us know just how paranoid and altered Martha is, and especially contrasting that with the old Martha, and the only complaint I might have is that we never get to see what the original Martha was like; it is only inferred as to why she would even accept and join this group in the first place, or what exactly she was running away from. But perhaps that makes the film only more intriguing—running away brought her to this society, and of course it looks fine on the outside, with it's acceptable living conditions and always a "family' of sorts around you. But, ah, there's always more than meets the eye. B+

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Were there two different endings filmed? JeopardyLeyton
I don't like these endings because ... martasavila
Tired of ambiguous endings Thrillho-5
Is Martha retarded? jimparrett
That is how to end an film! matrix5904
He only has boys? bebesushii
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