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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
There are several references to the work of singer-songwriter, Jackson C. Frank. John Hawkes plays "Marcy's song" in the film, while "Marlene" is played over the credits. It can be assumed that John Hawkes' character, Patrick, fabricated the names Marcy May and Marlene from these songs. See more »
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 »
[as Martha runs away]
Marcy! Marcy May! Where ya goin'?
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Elizabeth Olsen's acting in Martha Marcy May Marlene is really fantastic (it may or may not be her first feature film, not sure which she did first this or Silent House). Her acting combined with the background we get make it easy to see how someone could be drawn into a cult - and stay for so long despite the abusiveness.
The interactions between Martha, her sister and her brother-in-law are downright strange at times but not in a 'hunh?' way at all. They're strange in a way that actually makes perfect sense for the characters and the experiences they've had.
I was really disappointed by the very, very, very end of the film - but I liked the other 100 or so minutes enough that I can forgive it (or forget about it). That and I really can't wait to see Elizabeth Olsen in something else.
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