October 24, 2011
Very slow, spare, beautiful, and pretentious
I wanted to like this movie. I was raised in and near multiple cults, in Northern California. I love beautiful, dark, unconventional cinema, like Irreversible, or Tree of Life. But despite the genuinely fascinating subject matter (rape-cult victim), the director seemed more interested in close-ups of Elizabeth Olsen's notably beautiful face than providing such mundane conventions as, say, a plot arc. Or an ending.
I get that there is an interesting tension between what is good and bad about the rape-cult lifestyle and what is good and bad about Martha's sister's conventional family/career-oriented lifestyle. But the direction of the film wants us to pay attention to the tension of Martha being ready to snap, and--either way--he refuses to deliver.
Standing at the exit, listening to exiting conversations, I heard a lot of people making polite, positive comments. Or confused comments. No raves.
This is the Sundance film we're supposed to like. But it's just not that good.
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