Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Lovely Molly' (2011)
I creative look at America's cult of victim blaming.
Ehh, erm... uhhhh... yeah I can give it a pass. I have to admit, it took me a couple of attempts to get all the way through this movie. However, something kept pulling me back to give it another shot. And while it may have taken four overall sittings, I have to admit, it was at least interesting.
The problem is that sometimes the movie is just really boring, and other times it's just poorly paced. It doesn't exactly fail my 30 minute rule, it's just that its build up is fairly bland, and the plot doesn't really get interesting until later scenes. Though, through the build up, there are little tidbits, which just left me curious. While these little tidbits weren't enough to keep me going in one shot, they were enough to keep pulling me back. I suppose, I had I paid theater prices to see this, I would have stuck around even if just to justify the expense.
But that very concept bothers me. I shouldn't HAVE to justify sitting through a film, nor should I be left to consider giving it a second chance, or third, or fourth for that matter. However, I did eventually give the movie full credit enough too, at the very least, sit through the second half.
So far as the overall body of the film, it's well acted, to the point it's damn near Oscar material. The atmosphere is an amalgamation of 'Shaky Camera,' and standard third person. This hybrid uses only the best of both worlds making even the 'Shaky Camera' appropriately use. The plot is fantastic, and I always appreciate cerebral horror. This movie walks the perfect tightrope between supernatural and madness.
I can actually recommend this to general audiences, perhaps not horror heads unless they're fans of cerebral horror.
The first theme is that Molly seems to be obsessed with a woman and her two children. Throughout the movie she constantly video tapes them, seeming to spy on them from the woods. Her motivations are never entirely clear at first, but it certainly doesn't seem harmless.
The second is Molly's obsession with her dead father, who seems to drag out rather bad memories of her past. There is, of course, a history of abuse here, and while it's tasteful, and only ever suggested at, it can still be pretty triggering.
The third is that Molly is a former heroin addict. This is likely from her past, and could even potentially explain her odd behaviors in the beginning of the movie.
What caught me about this, is that it seems more like the build up of a serial killer than a possession victim, and that's what kept dragging me back. Something was very off about Molly's behavior right from the get go and, in a way, that made me curious as to what was going on in the depths of her psyche. While it was hard to get invested in the movie at first, once I started psychologically analyzing it, watching the second half became far more desirable, and it didn't disappoint.
The thing is, this really isn't just a possession movie like the description suggests. What makes this cerebral horror are two perspectives consistent throughout the plot that are distinguishable and unique. Only one of these is the tail of possession. From the perspective of Molly, the ghost of her father has become a menacing demonic force, which is part horse, part man. From the perspective of Molly's friend and husband, Molly is manifesting repressed memories of her childhood sexual abuse, and turning them into some monstrous tormentor.
It's rather like "The Possession of David O'Reilly" in that, you're left to decide on your own what's real, and in fact "Lovely Molly" does it much better. If anyone besides Molly is around, you can't hear or see anything that's happening to Molly, and are left to take her word for it. When it's just Molly, all sorts of bizarre unexplained phenomenon start happen around her. A lot of the perspective through Molly is done in 'Shaky Camera' to help separate the difference between what Molly is seeing, and what the people around her are seeing. The thing is, they never show you someone else watching the videos, so you don't get to know if those things ever really happened or if Molly was just making it up in her head. The movie wants you to decide on your own, and expects you to be an adult about it.
Really, this is a movie about the psychological damage of a sexual abuse victim. If you take the reality route, you're watching the birth of a serial killer, due to the deeply seeded personal torment of Molly having been sexually abused by her father. If you take the possession route, you see the evil of a man taking permanent hold over the life of a child in an inescapable way, manifesting as the demonic force that wants to posses Molly completely. Either have a really important story to tell about sexual abuse, both of which show the prejudices of our society through the other characters that interact with Molly.
There is one particularly disgusting scene where Molly's boss forces Molly to watch a tape of what appears to be her humping a wall in the alley behind her place of employment. This absolutely grotesque display of some idiot male authority figure bubbling through what should have been addressed to Human Resources, as well as a psychiatrist, really sets the pace for how people who are even Molly's closest family will treat her. Her cousin gets absorbed in self guilt and refuses to take necessary action or consideration for Molly's clear cries for help. Her Husband can't understand it, so rather than trying to understand it, he occasionally lashes out at Molly in anger. "Lovely Molly" is a story about how we treat people like Molly, and why the story usually ends in tragedy for people like Molly.
It's sort of a hard movie to watch in general, not just because of the boring first half, but also because of the sudden, deeply emotional downward spiral that follows in the second half. Still, I deeply recommend it.