Haunted by painful memories and suffering from increasing anxiety, Martha escapes an abusive cult and returns home to live with her older sister, Lucy, and Lucy’s husband, Ted. With no other family lean on, Martha tries desperately to assimilate into Ted and Lucy’s upper-middle-class lifestyle. But nightmares of the cult that brainwashed her into living as Marcy May prevent her from connecting with the only people who may be able to save her. As Martha’s isolation grows, her severe paranoia escalates. Ultimately, she descends into a dizzying state of panic as the growing fear that she is being hunted grips her every move.
Giving a breakout performance as Martha (Marcy May), Elizabeth Olsen, sister of the famous Olsen twins, exhibits a depth of character reminiscent of a young Maggie Gyllenhaal. A stunning follow-up to his short Mary Last Seen, a 2010 Cannes award-winner, writer/director Sean Durkin’s chilling first feature puts him on the map as a filmmaker to watch. –Sundance Film Festival
Sean Durkin’s short film Mary Last Seen premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival before going on to win the Prix SFR at the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival. Martha Marcy May Marlene, Durkin’s first feature film, was selected for the 2010 Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the cofounder of Borderline Films. –Sundance
This is extremely shallow approach to the subject of religious cults. Also it is not different in any way from average Hollywood movie, it is even worse when it comes to the question of dominant ideology/world view. It sells status quo and supports conservative view on individual-society relation. And bad as a movie. Kitsch on every level. Pretentious and not even entertaining. Sorry.
“The most divisive dramatic competition entry yet to screen at Sundance.”
Runner-Up: The Tree of Life, for which Terrence Malick wins Best Director.
Strong showing for Margaret, Hugo and Moneyball.
Also: Borderline Films, Cagney and Zinneman.
“Riding into Manhattan on a wave of Sundance and Cannes huzzahs…”
A look at the posters for the films in the main slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.
"The Borderline Films boys, who along with their mid-aughts NYU grad cohorts have been responsible for the gorgeous and startlingly cold
This film keeps an eerily subtle tone throughout as to depict the damaged emotional state of a woman fleeing from a strange cult that lives isolated in the wilderness. A Hollywood moviegoer could expect… read review
It’s hard to look at Martha Marcy May Marlene and not think that there is more to this film then meets the eye. When I first saw the trailer for this film a year back it was almost haunting yet depressing… read review
Elizabeth Olsen plays an incredibly impenetrable child, unmoored emotionally and living in the aftermath of having been systematically preyed upon by a cult during that narrow adolescent window when… read review