The non-Olsen twin (a prettier Maggie Gyllenhaal) plays Martha - although that name morphs on the quick (hence the odd title). Olsen "looks like a Marcy May" to (a typically brilliant) John Hawkes, the cold-blooded leader of the cult that Martha/Marcy May finds herself immersed in when we first meet her character. What starts rather innocuously, becomes increasingly more unnerving as skilled first-time writer/director Sean Durkin gradually unveils a much more sinister side to Hawkes and his clan of servants - serving up one of the most shockingly chilling scenes in cinema of late.
Durkin deftly merges Martha's cult-member past with her present through a series of flashbacks and flash forwards. After Martha makes a run from the cult, she lands in big sis's (Sarah Paulson) lakefront home to detox - although she's utterly unaware of her dire need to do just that. It's that hangover of being manipulated by Hawkes that allows the tension to be ratcheted-up to positively terrifying levels - the culmination will undoubtedly leave a lot of folks unfulfilled but given the overall mood of the movie, it's not altogether unexpected.
Not since "The Wicker Man" (the original - not the Nic Cage abomination) has a movie delved into cult life with such an organic and foreboding fashion. "Martha Marcy May Marlene" is superb - a disturbing psychological drama that's guaranteed to have more than a few followers come Oscar season.