Awhile back I was shocked to discover that the Olsen twins had a little sister, one who looked just like them except less manicured, less bag-lady, less Starbucks-carrying and less bony. The buzz around her was high – she had studied acting at Tisch and was about to star in a bunch indie movies. “I heard she did it right,” my coworker said.
As someone who grew up lamenting my lack of twin thanks to the Olsen twins, I was fascinated by Elizabeth’s solo-ness, her integrity and her strange face that looks totally different depending on her hair color. Could she be the indie Olsen I didn’t know I wanted?
To investigate, I went to the screening of her new film, Martha Marcy May Marlene. The plot of Martha is somewhat of a cross between a Portlandia skit and Black Swan. Check it out below:
Since I like Portlandia and Black Swan almost equally, I was excited about Martha Marcy May Marlene. It looked like a kinky thriller with lots of emotional depth.
In the story, Martha becomes one of several girls whose general aimlessness and sense of rejection by their families leads them to live on a quiet farm in the Catskills. Once they’re there, the owner, Patrick, gives them profound speeches that seduce them into his small cult of lovers. The movie starts as Martha returns home to live with her sister, where she deals with what’s happened to her through a series of terrifying flashbacks.
I did not expect to come out of the film quite so affected. Martha’s horror upon waking from flashbacks was completely eery in the way it exposed just how raw women’s anger toward men that mistreat them can be. It’s the kind of movie that leaves you feeling completely alone inside your own head.
As I left the theater, the lady running the screening was asking everyone what they thought. All the older women snapped, “Horrible movie!” and the younger people seemed to like it.
As we approached, Jason Zabel from this site answered, “It was shot like a 1998 Abercrombie catalogue,” and Sarah Heuer, another editor, added, “Elizabeth Olsen’s tits are way bigger than her sisters’!” Jay Gabler added a polite comment about the film being interestingly constructed.
The movie was definitely divisive, but in the opposite way that New York Minute was. Instead of causing people to argue about whether or not they loved campy, glam girl humor, Martha Marcy May Marlene proves there’s one Olsen out there that can inspire arguments about whether something is too “artsy” or “challenging.” That’s something I never even thought to ask for.