Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 7, 2010
    100
    A strange and very beautiful documentary about the gray area between obsession and art.
  2. This tender documentary considers the mysteries of both art and coping.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 24, 2013
    88
    Marwencol is about Hogancamp and his miniature alter-ego, about his photographs and his creative process. But it is also, on a deeper level, about how we process our experiences - good and bad, violent and mysterious - and how we try to build safe places in our lives.
  4. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jan 13, 2011
    90
    This moving documentary sidesteps the usual art-world debates over the authenticity and legitimacy of outsider work; instead director Jeff Malmberg simply immerses us in Hogancamp's world, just as Hogancamp immerses himself in the title town and its horrors.
  5. Reviewed by: Kevin Thomas
    Oct 25, 2013
    100
    Watching Marwencol, Jeff Malmberg's probing documentary on Hogancamp's undertaking, is an exhilarating, utterly unique experience.
  6. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 9, 2010
    75
    At its heart, it's about the communities we forge - real and imagined - to save our own lives.
  7. 75
    First-time director Jeff Malmberg tells Hogancamp's fascinating story with sensitivity, never resorting to exploitation.
  8. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Mar 2, 2011
    63
    Hogancamp seems a pleasant, offbeat and intuitive fellow who probably takes all this less seriously than those who "discovered" him.
  9. Four years in the making, Marwencol emerges as a number of things: an absorbing portrait of an outsider artist; a fascinating journey from near-death to active life; a meditation on the brain's ability to forge new pathways when old ones have been destroyed.
  10. 75
    Jeff Malmberg's documentary Marwencol is at its best when it focuses on Hogancamp's little world, and lets the artist walk the viewer through his town's increasingly dense mythology.
  11. Exactly the sort of mysterious and almost holy experience you hope to get from documentaries and rarely do, Jeff Malmberg's Marwencol is something like a homegrown slice of Herzog oddness, complete with true-crime backfill and juicy metafictive upshot.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 17, 2010
    88
    Hogancamp's alliance with director Jeff Malmberg in this artful and poignant film marks a victory in the war against the self.
  13. 60
    When it comes to capturing the man behind the phenomenon, however, the film never progresses beyond a superficial, weird-yet-wonderful portraiture.
  14. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Dec 7, 2010
    75
    If you have even a passing interest in outsider art, you owe it to yourself to see Marwencol.
  15. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    Oct 24, 2013
    91
    One of the most affecting true-life character studies in quite some time.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    70
    Hogancamp is a complex character, and Marwencol introduces the man in layers, creating an incomplete yet sympathetic portrait specialty audiences and hipsters can agree on.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jun 18, 2012
    10
    What if art become a form of therapy? This film portrays the strory of this bizarre man using an extraordinariness and miraculousness of artWhat if art become a form of therapy? This film portrays the strory of this bizarre man using an extraordinariness and miraculousness of art as a therapy to help him able to cope with the expensive lesson he had learnt from the cruelty and heartedness of people who share the same world as himself. It is new, strange and conducts the super unfimiliar life circumstance of this man with such an enormous maniacal expression. A strange yet very beautiful documentary. Full Review »
  2. Aug 29, 2011
    7
    Marwencol is a touching story of a man that lost everything in a bar fight. He now creates the world that he never had with action figures andMarwencol is a touching story of a man that lost everything in a bar fight. He now creates the world that he never had with action figures and barbie dolls in great detail. It's an interesting story and any filmmaker would pick up on such a unique centerpiece for a film. However sometimes it seems that the film tells us more about what hasn't happened and less about what has. Still a great documentary. Full Review »
  3. Nov 22, 2010
    9
    Reminds me of recent documentary Catfish, in that it captures an incredible story that could never have been foreseen at the beginning of theReminds me of recent documentary Catfish, in that it captures an incredible story that could never have been foreseen at the beginning of the project; however, unlike Catfish, this documentary would have been very interesting with or without its several surprises. What does it look like for art to be therapy? This story gives an incredibly intriguing answer to that question. Full Review »