Ms. Olsen’s performance is the key to “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

23 October, 2011

John Hawkes, Elizabeth Olsen 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'

John Hawkes, Elizabeth Olsen 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'


Martha is played by Elizabeth Olsen, a very pretty actress whose on-camera presence is at once vivid and interestingly blurred. Her features seem to shift, appearing sharp from some angles and soft from others, and her body can look alternately sturdy and frail, depending on the circumstances.

Ms. Olsen’s performance is both the key to the film and the source of its sometimes frustrating opacity. Patrick periodically criticizes his disciples, including Martha, for failing to be open enough with him, and that is also a shortcoming of “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which is a bit too coy, too clever and too diffident to believe in. NYT
Opening Weekend: $138,000
(4 theaters, $34,500 average)
% of Total Gross: 100.0%
Widest Release: 4 theaters
In Release: 3 days / 0.4 weeks

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