Martha Marcy May Marlene

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby Bog » Wed May 23, 2012 8:27 pm

What else ya got Flipp? I see it's been just over a month since I viewed this film, yet it continues to stick with me far more than the several films I've seen between then and now...haunting, mesmerizing film.

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby OscarGuy » Wed May 23, 2012 5:25 pm

It was meant as a joke. The talent of one person split between the two of them...as in they are barely half as talented.
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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby flipp525 » Wed May 23, 2012 3:41 pm

OscarGuy wrote:I was a bit surprised that this was actually an Olsen sibling. She has real talent whereas her sisters didn't. Having the talent of one person split evenly between two people isn't good.

Um...that's not how identical twins work, OscarGuy, coming from someone with parents who are both twins. The Olsen "twins" are fraternal twins, not identical which means that they are two separate eggs fertilized by two separate sperm, not "one person split evenly between two people" or however it is you might view a monozygotic set of twins. (To anyone who's seen "One Man, Two Goveners", you may laugh right about now.)

I saw Marcy May Martha Marlene on a plane coming home from London yesterday and immediately came here to see what some of the major reactions were. I find Tee's implication that Martha is somehow leading her sister and brother-in-law to the cult in the final sequence to be incredibly disturbing, yet oddly plausible. Alongside the others here, I thought Olsen was an absolute revelation in this film with that evocative moon-face and her propensity to live within a scene rather than "act" it out. There is something immensely organic about her acting style. I'd love to see where her career goes after this.
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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby Bog » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:27 am

Nah I completely disagree with that statement...if that were always the case I doubt any of us would be here, if this site even existed in that artless world sans all forms of symbolism. This makes me think of the comment Tee makes about several films, even at times subpar...that he's seen Something

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby Reza » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:12 am

Life would be so much simpler for all of us if the bloody director or script writer just explained what the hell happened.

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby Bog » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:42 pm

Again...SPOILER ALERT!!!

That ending:
My initial reaction was she has been discovered, much as she thought she would throughout, both while lucid and subconsciously, by "Michael" as he identified himself as the bartender of the party--> the name all men give themselves per the rule book when existing outside the cult's parameters. He then basically stalks her until he either successfully brings her back to the cult or I suppose kills her and/or invades their Connecticut weekend home. There is no reason to think the man posing as the bartender and the man that spooks her just prior to the final scene are not the same person. I assume a sequence of events that is plausible:
1) she swims and sees "Mike" watching her again
2) she goes about her day for the remainder of this day
3) the next morning her sister and brother-in-law proceed to take her to the "institution"
4) "Mike" realizes maybe everyone left together and must be absolutely positive
5) he causes a scene on the road in order for Ted to have to slow down enough he can get a clear view of the backseat
6) causing the scene by the car he parked on the road, he hops in to continue to follow her

If her plan is to help Patrick et al. invade her sisters's beach house, it's too late now in my opinion. She is being borderline committed, despite her and her sister making up after the big fight, I'm fairly certain this is for real, she is not immediately coming back. Not to even consider the fact the 2 weeks of holiday Ted wanted to spend with his wife (MMMM's sister) is definitely close to expiration. Clearly she could be SUPER paranoid and the bartender's name really is Mike, the guy across the lake not really watching/not really there, the road incident just random, but believing all this makes us as paranoid as MMMM.

I can't wait to hear what others think as this continues to simmer in the bright minds of this board...

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby OscarGuy » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:35 pm

I was a bit surprised that this was actually an Olsen sibling. She has real talent whereas her sisters didn't. Having the talent of one person split evenly between two people isn't good.
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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby bizarre » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:07 pm

I'm so glad that this film is being well-received here. It's wonderful, and Olsen is a true revelation.

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:23 pm

Names explained.

From the IMDb.:

The title refers to three of the names that the main character (played by Elizabeth Olsen) is known by over the course of the movie. "Martha" is her given first name, the one that her parents gave her; "Marcy May" is the name that Patrick bestows upon her when she first enters the cult; and "Marlene" is the name that all the cult's women are required to use when answering the compound's telephone (as explicated in the long list of instructions that are visible written on the wall next to the telephone). The men are all required to call themselves "Michael" while on the phone.

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby OscarGuy » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:29 am

Reza's post contains SPOILERS, so will mine...

The moment where the car has to stop suddenly because someone's in the road, when the man who was in the road walks around back of their vehicle to get into the black SUV, it looks very much like the gentleman she was "betrothed" to suggesting that it is the cult following them. But as the two scenes of home invasion prove, it would have been just as easy for them to do so there. I don't honestly think they would do much except find out where she was going. It's suspicious sure, but I don't buy the theory that she's leading the family to the cult. Throughout the film, you can kind of get a sense where Martha's emotional state lies. The scene at the party is mostly paranoia. Remember that she's been brainwashed for some time and thinks that alcohol is a path to the devil (not specified, but implied). She is constantly having PTSD-type flashbacks to something that corresponds to her current condition within the cult. She even goes so far as to drug herself to hopefully remind her of her time at the cult, but each time something brings her back. She seems genuinely interested in leaving the cult, though she is constantly tempted by reminders of what they have done, sometimes evoking a sense of shame and desperation, other times intimating that she misses what the cult did to her.

In the end, though, I think she realizes she still needs help. Nearly every decision she makes, even though it reminds her of limited positivity in the hands of the cult, eventually leads to her self-recrimination. I could see the fact that her sister doesn't want her around may have contributed to the theory that she'd give up and want back in (they are willing to take her back, I'm sure, without any extra actions on her part), but I think what the scene in the second home invasion where the cult kills the man just because he's seen them suggests more that they are following Martha and her family because they want to stop her from revealing what she has seen. So while they might take her back, they'll suspect her family knows and if she is being dropped at a care facility (which I'm sure has come up for them in the past), they will want to keep her silence. Maybe that final scene is a scare tactic to convince her to clam up, but I think they are pursuing in an effort to stop them from revealing them to others.
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"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby Reza » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:33 am

SPOILER ALERT !!!


So the sudden ending with Martha in her sister's car, with a man in a car following them was not a glitch in my DVD. What a relief, although it raises a number of questions about the vague ending.
Last edited by Reza on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:30 pm

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a very unsettling movie, as one would expect given the subject matter. But I think the WAY that it is unsettling makes it noteworthy. To start with, director Sean Durkin masterfully choreographs his actors within the frame, so that the composition of his images, and the interplay between the characters, attains a tenseness even in more mundane-seeming moments. (I just about held my breath throughout the relatively un-dramatic sequence in which Martha drives the boat, for instance.) It really is the kind of movie where you feel like, plot-wise, anything could happen at any moment, all the more impressive given that not that much DOES happen. When I read Mister Tee's comment about the storyline seeming fairly thin, I thought, he's right -- now that I think about it, the narrative is fairly monotonous. But it doesn't FEEL thin, given many of the film's disturbing implications.

The structure of the script is quite neat, too, toggling between the "Martha" and "Marcy May" sections. I liked the way events from the second half of the film revealed new information about moments from earlier in the story. And I liked how the narrative used ellipsis, omitting key events (especially a VERY major development in the last reel) -- this fragmented structure seems appropriate for a story with a protagonist who has led an equally fragmented life. While it can be surprising when certain narrative developments are glossed over, you have to imagine this is similar to Martha's experience -- she seems like the kind of girl who wouldn't always be able to tell you how she got from Point A to Point B.

The movie's major thematic conceits are also more subtly implied than explicitly stated. During the dinner table scene, when our protagonist doesn't understand why Hugh Dancy's character couldn't just up and leave the country on a whim, the moment suggests that Martha, after living with her cult's restrictions, has been warped into believing that the outside world has no such limitations. But it DOES -- the stable, bourgeois life that Dancy & Paulson have created for themselves is VERY structured, has plenty of societal rules, and can, in fact, trap people in a way that provides them very little freedom. I think the suggestion that Martha hasn't escaped a cult, but has simply returned to a different kind of cult, is very disturbing.

Elizabeth Olsen is very good here. I like what Mister Tee says -- that we feel like we know a lot about her character, even though she doesn't have many dialogue-driven moments where she reveals her thoughts and feelings. It's the way Olsen reacts to certain moments -- both within the cult and back at home -- that reveal a lot about Martha, a girl with a deep need to belong somewhere, who finds herself easily taken advantage of by others. Like Jennifer Lawrence last year, it's a strong breakthrough performance, and I do hope she, along with the film's screenplay, make the Oscar list.

Now, about that ending....

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Even by the standards of ambiguous-ending movies, the conclusion to MMMM feels VERY abrupt. But it doesn't feel VAGUE, like the filmmakers couldn't come up with a conclusion (a reaction I had to the way overhyped Like Crazy, where the movie just sort of stops because the screenwriters were out of ideas about where the central relationship would go.) Here, the film seems to posit numerous possibilities with many troubling implications. While watching, I thought the tailgater was someone from the cult who had caught up with Martha, and was planning to bring her back. But I also thought Martha could have been paranoid, suggesting that she will never be able to go through her life without looking over her shoulder, wondering if someone from this cult is out to get her. (It reminded me, in a way of The Sopranos finale, and the theory that Tony, for as long as he lived, would have moments when he wondered if he was seconds away from being offed.)

I hadn't considered this third possibility, that Martha is in fact leading her family to the cult, but it's very interesting. In order to buy this theory, I'd have to say that Martha doesn't leave the cult WITH THE PURPOSE of punishing her family, but that at some point along the line, she decides to do so, possibly because she feels she can no longer fit in normal society, and needs some way to be readmitted into John Hawkes's family. Perhaps leading her sister and brother-in-law to doom is evidence that she has indeed rejected the outside world and deserves another chance on the farm.

Also, Marlene is referenced in TWO scenes, right? Martha calls the cult, and speaks to a woman named "Marlene," then later in the movie (earlier in the story, I think) Martha is that representative from the cult. Could it be that Martha's reason for calling the cult is because she wants back in? And when she gets the same persona non grata treatment she once granted to others, that's impetus for her needing to do something drastic to re-implement herself?

And what of the scene during Paulson's party, when Martha believes the bartender is someone from the cult? Might he NOT be, and Martha is just paranoid? Might he indeed be someone attempting to bring Martha back? Might he be a reminder to Martha that the cult will not leave her alone, leading to some kind of decision on her part w/r/t handing over her family to the cult's hands?

There are a lot of interesting possibilities here, and I hope more people will chime in with opinions once they've had a chance to see the film.

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby kaytodd » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:00 pm

Spoilers Ahoy!:
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I do not think the tailgating car at the end was someone trying to kidnap Martha back into the cult. I think Martha's reaction to it was an example of her paranoia. The ending is made to have us discuss and debate what it means and we are doing so because it is a well written, well done and well acted film. It has captured our imagination and makes us think a lot about it well after we have seen. We scour our memories of the film for clues as to what happened at the end.

IMO, what happened was Martha ran away from the mental hospital her sister and brother in law were bringing her to at the end of the film. She then lived in another "cult" (could have just been a commune) where she took the name Marlene. She decided to return to the world where, at least for now, she feels more comfortable and useful. Only, I assume her new friends are not potential murders.

Just my opinion. I have no idea if that is what Sean Durkin had in mind.
The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby Sabin » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:44 pm

Mister Tee wrote
Whether I'm right or not, I love that the film raises such possibilities.

And again to contrast with Inception, the film raises possibilities that matter.
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Re: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:24 pm

I was planning on writing something right now, but now I feel like I want to ruminate on some of these questions a bit before posting. Mister Tee, your "even more out there" scenario hadn't crossed my mind until now, but it's VERY interesting.

I like this movie a lot too.


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