Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

Martha Marcy May

2011 Jody Lee Lipes / Fox Searchlight

Earlier I said I didn’t think MMM was worth the anxiety I experienced watching it, but I found myself thinking of the film all day today and, better still, thinking beyond the film: thinking of what it said. Thinking about the prisons we allow ourselves to live in, about fundamentalism, cults, domestic violence, about the human longing for a charismatic leader or, at least, absolute answers. When the film ended, it seemed incomplete. But in retrospect I think that what I saw as the flaw was really the strength: we share Martha’s confusion about what is happening, what is being remembered, and what is imagined. She doesn’t trust anything and neither do we. She can’t tell what is really happening and we aren’t sure either. The film leaves us with a sense of uncertainty and paranoia. I think that means it worked. I think it’s an important, brave film. Well acted and well told and worth the anxiety experienced by its audience.

Categories: films

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