User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28

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  1. May 29, 2012
    2
    Is Maggie (Brit Marling) a 23 year old woman from the year 2054 or is she a scam artist on the run from the FBI? Is 8 year old Abigail (Avery Pohl) her mother? And why, and with what, does her father inject her foot with every night? Does each member, of what might be a cult, really have to learn that handshake that is so complicated were the actors chosen only by those who could accomplish it?

    Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius) are a young couple in California who are would be filmmakers. They are planning to join a cult and make a film exposing it to the point that Peter swallows a radio transmitter to make recordings of what is said. They, and supposedly 7-8 others are put through a ruse each time they come to the meeting of being blindfolded, driven for 20 minutes, get naked and shower and then putting on robes before they get into that handshake and taken to a room where they meet Maggie. She wears a robe with a shawl and hoodie, is attached to an oxygen machine, eats food grown by her followers and has their blood sent into her body via various tubes for protein. At other times there is no oxygen tank in sight.

    At the beginning we go through psychology 101 where she has them vomit up, literally, their problems followed by, maybe, Peter being drawn in by her and foolishly agreeing to doing something that can cause him all sorts of problems. Peter seems to be more taken in by Maggie than Lorna is which causes them problems as a couple.

    Out of nowhere the camera moves to a woman (Davenia McFadden) on an airplane coming into Los Angeles, checking into a hotel, carrying all sorts of paraphernalia and then we go back to the cult meeting. In another 10-15 minute sequence there is a woman showing Lorna how to shoot a gun which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the movie just as Peter stopping his car to urinate and, as far as I can tell, uses an asthma inhaler means anything except to extend the movie to 84 minutes.

    The director, Zal Batmanglij, who wrote the screenplay with Brit Marling, doesnâ
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Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 24, 2012
    80
    Open-ended and decidedly un-Hollywood, it is faintly dissatisfying, especially coming on the heels of such as engaging and crisply presented story. But it offers movie-goers a wonderful opportunity to roll it all around in their heads and discuss it, even debate it, as they drive back to that cozy little cult compound they call home.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob James
    Jul 28, 2012
    80
    Like "Martha Marcy May Marlene," this lo-fi psychodrama reaps the benefits of a mesmerising female lead, only this time as cult leader not disciple. Marling continues to impress.
  3. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jun 1, 2012
    75
    Denham impressively captures Peter's flintiness, rendering him sympathetic yet not quite likable, and Vicius is just right as the wary Lorna.