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Martha Marcy May Marlene (15)

Drama, Thriller

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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The critical consensus

A stunningly assured, elegantly crafted and profoundly disturbing portrait of a traumatised mind, MMMM rockets Durkin and Olsen to the top of the ‘ones to watch’ pile.

*****Emma Dibdin, Total Film, 23/01/2012

First woozily unsettling and then coolly shocking. Olsen and Hawkes are remarkable.

****(*)Siobhan Synnot, The Scotsman, 29/01/2012

Rough around the edges and too ambiguous for some tastes, this is grim but clever, insidiously creepy and affecting. And in Olsen and Durkin, it marks the arrival of two exciting talents to watch. It still should be called Mental Sex Cult.

****(*)Ian Freer, Empire Online, 30/01/2012

An ambiguous, beautiful film blurring the lines between reality, paranoia and fantasy.

*****Chris Fyvie, The Skinny, 31/01/2012

The picture is suspenseful, memorable, thought-provoking and psychologically credible, brilliantly acted all round. A creepily ambiguous ending stays with you.

****(*)Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express, 01/02/2012

Big on atmosphere and full of subtle, carefully crafted performances, it is, in the end, a horror film of rare intelligence and insight.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 02/02/2012

Durkin is to be applauded for avoiding pat resolutions and easy outs – and for showcasing the remarkable Olsen to such advantage – but his film could have used a little more narrative meat on its bones.

***(*)(*)Hannah McGill, The List, 01/02/2012

It's acted and directed like a sensitive drama, rather than a scary movie, and is all the scarier for it.

****(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 02/02/2012

It is remarkable for two debuts, Sean Durkin writing and directing his first feature, and Elizabeth Olsen starring in hers. In their different ways they have set themselves a blazing standard, and deserve all the plaudits coming to them.

****(*)Anthony Quinn, The Independent, 03/02/2012

At times a family drama, at other times a don't-look-now chiller, Durkin's drama is cold-hand-on-the-back-of-the-neck entertainment. Olsen is outstanding.

****(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 02/02/2012

Like the ordeals of the central character, the film flickers powerfully in the memory.

****(*)Jason Wood, Little White Lies, 03/02/2012

Writer/director Sean Durkin creates a persuasive sense of unease, in which he is greatly aided by Olson's distracted, otherworldly presence. Hawkes follows his memorable, coke-addicted anti-hero Teardrop in Winter's Bone with a performance that is finely balanced between charisma and creepiness.

Sunday Herald, 05/02/2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene is unnerving not because of what it shows you, but because its lucidity and cleanness of execution – just the right side of antiseptic – create a marvellous sense of creeping unease, especially when it comes to the abrupt, audaciously uncertain ending.

Jonathan Romney, The Independent on Sunday, 05/02/2012

What many of the film's admirers at Sundance and elsewhere have greeted as suggestively enigmatic insights in the girl's mind, strike me as unnecessarily obscure, even perfunctory. Olsen, however, does have a disquieting presence.

Philip French, The Observer, 05/02/2012

Maybe this film is really commenting on our hectic, atomised lifestyles – that if you step away from them and live in the rugged outback, detached from it all – it becomes almost impossible to fit back into consumer society.

***(*)(*)Andrew, TV Bomb, 04/02/2012

Features about Martha Marcy May Marlene (15)

Martha Marcy May Marlene (15)

Where and when?

General release. Check local listings for show times.

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday March 16, 2012, until Thursday March 22, 2012. Check with cinema for film times.. More info:

Eden Court Theatre, Inverness from Friday March 16, 2012, until Thursday March 22, 2012. Check with cinema for film times.. More info:

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