6.9/10
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192 user 349 critic

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

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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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22 wins & 70 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Max
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Watts
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Ted
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Katie
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Sarah
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Zoe
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Bartender (as Adam Thompson)
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Man in Home #2
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Cult Member
Louisa Braden Johnson ...
Cult Member
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Cult Member
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Man in Home #1
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Storyline

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

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

21 December 2011 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

La fuga di Martha  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot over 20 days. See more »

Goofs

During Martha's breakdown in the party scene, the bow on her white dress is hanging loose when she is being corralled into the bedroom by Lucy and Ted. In the next shot, the bow is done up again. See more »

Quotes

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

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

Soundtracks

Sophisticated Lady
Written by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills and Mitchell Parish
Published by Sony/ATV Harmony and EMI Mills Music Inc.
Performed by Sarah Vaughan
Courtesy of Pablo Records
Used by Permission of Concord Music Group
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Tons of potential
3 June 2012 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

I'm tempted to give Martha Marcy May Marlene a higher rating than it deserves for what it could have been, not for what it is. It boasts two young talents who are showing tons of potential - director Sean Durkin and lead actress Elizabeth Olsen; Olsen's performance is subtle and effective, and Durkin's directorial work creates a strong sense of atmosphere, which is aided by the superb cinematography of Jody Lee Lipes (who also had very little prior experience in feature length films). It's a film that looks and sounds great, but unfortunately it doesn't mesh into a satisfying experience.

It's probably because there's so much potential and so much to explore, and so little of it is actually brought to fruition, that I left the film with a bitter taste of a missed opportunity. The cult, for example, is fascinating, seductive and nightmarish, and John Hawkes delivers outstandingly, but on closer inspection it looks like a perfectly generic hippie cult of the classic Manson prototype, and we get no hints of what their philosophy actually is, or about the personalities of any of the members. The same goes for the relationship between Martha, her sister and her brother in law, and most of all the ending, which suggests some very interesting subjects which the rest of the movie doesn't really explore.

To be clear: I don't object to open endings or films that leave a lot of information out to allow viewer interpretation, but in this case I felt it was done as a cover up for lack of decision on Durkin's part - a flawed script that doesn't really feel complete. I'll definitely check out his work in the future, but this film isn't quite there yet.


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