In what may be the breakout performance of 2011 (no disrespect to the wonderful Jessica Chastain in pretty much every movie this year), newcomer Elizabeth Olsen is just incredible in the shattering and haunting Martha Marcy May Marlene. Playing a young woman who escapes an abusive cult and drifts between reality, memory and fantasy, Olsen never strikes a false note. She’s tortured, emotional, fragile, furious and fantastic. It’s a performance and a film that haunts you and will keep you ruminating on it days afterwards. Whether she’s interacting with her long estranged sister (Sarah Paulson) and her new husband (Hugh Dancy) or adjusting to life in her adopted community led by the equally charming and creepy Patrick (Oscar nominee last year for Winter’s Bone John Hawkes), Olsen’s Martha is such an intriguing mystery of motivations and damaged pain that you cant’ take your eyes off her. Olsen (who, yes, is the younger sister of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and a student at NYU’s Tisch drama school) immediately jumps to the front of the Oscar race to face off such luminaries ans Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) and will assuredly give them a strong fight for the title. And she may be joined by her contemporaries from the film including the brooding and intense Hawkes (Supporting Actor), cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes, and writer/director Sean Durkin who has made a stunning film that leaves you wanting more. In fact I want to tell you more, but I don’t want to ruin the film for you. Just see it. It hits theatres later this fall. For more on this provacative picture, head to the film’s website here and check out the trailer below.
Martha Marcy May Marlene~ Grade: A
Martha Marcy May Marlene trailer