Marcy May Marlene
Written & Directed by Sean Durkin
From 3rd February 2012
An unusual title of an unusual film. The title derives from the various
names given to a young woman, Martha (Elizabeth Olsen), who is a member
of a commune located amid the Catskill Mountains, led by the Charles Manson-like
figure Patrick, chillingly played by John Hawkes.
After the mentally screwed up Martha escapes from their clutches, she
is re-united with her middle-class and middle brow elder sister Lucy (Sarah
Paulson), who is on holiday with her equally bland husband Tom (Hugh Dancy)
by a tranquil lake in Connecticut.
The film deftly switches from Martha's time at the commune and the present
day, ably assisted by top-drawer cinematography by Jody Lee Lipes. This
juxtaposition serves to emphasise the almost complete contrast of living
in a very small community and residing in the vast 'real world', with
all its problems, real and imagined.
Martha increasingly finds it diificult to adjust to what, is to her,
an alien world, and her oddball behaviour, such as walking into the bedroom
where her sister and spouse are making love, leads to ever increasing
conflict with the two of them.
At times you are not sure whether the flashbacks by Martha depicted in
the film are actually a true recollection of what happened to her in the
time she spent there or whether they are perhaps a figment of her fevered
imagination. But this only adds to the multi-layered themes of the picture.
The final sequence is the proverbial icing on the cake of a riveting