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Monday, January 7, 2019

WELCOME TO MARWEN

WELCOME TO MARWEN
Welcome To Marwen has been reviled by the majority of critics, generated a barely lukewarm response in Rotten Tomatoes' audience poll, and has appeared in fewer theaters than a three hour art film. Despite an intriguing trailer filled with award winning possibilities, Welcome To Marwen has officially tanked at the box office. To paraphrase Monte Python, Marwen is a dead parrot...it is not pining for the fjords. It has passed on. It is no more. It has ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker. It's stiff, bereft of life. It rests in peace. It has kicked the bucket and shuffled off this mortal coil. It is an ex-parrot. If it hadn't been nailed to the perch, it would  be pushing up daisies...
 
Based on the trailer, which solicited 'that looks great' whispers from my wife every time we saw it in theaters, Welcome To Marwen had been high on our 'must see' list. But the critical drubbing it received dropped it down to 'we'll wait to see it via the inevitable DVD/streaming release...maybe.'
 
Then a friend, whose judgement we trust, asked if we had seen Welcome To Marwen. He and his wife went on to give the film an enthusiastic 'you gotta see it, two thumbs way up, it's fantastic' recommendation. We had a free evening, so we tracked the film down at the only theater in our county where it was playing and prepared to be underwhelmed.
 
What we experienced was a masterpiece of creative moviemaking. This may be slightly hyperbolic, but something outrageous has to be said to counter the undeserved avalanche of bad press Welcome To Marwen has received. We spent two hours riveted to the screen watching an amazing blend of flawless CGI animation cleverly and subtlety interwoven into the true story of a gifted artistic individual struggling to overcome horrendous trauma and find his place in the world again.
 
Welcome To Marwen, stars the versatile Steve Carell as Mark Hogancamp. A brutal hate crime, perpetrated because of his affinity for female shoes, wipes away all of Hogancamp's memories of his former life. Unable to afford therapy, Hogancamp tries to heal his PTSD through art therapy, constructing miniature WWII scenes featuring mostly female dolls repeatedly taking on a gang of Nazis with familiar faces.
 
Putting together pieces from his old and new life, Hogancamp meticulously creates the wondrous miniature Belgium town of Marwen, a place where he can heal and be heroic. This astonishing art installation is also a testament to the most powerful women he knows (both real and imagined) from whom he draws the strength to triumph over the crushing adversity of his real world experience. Welcome To Marwen is a bold and wondrous film, proving courageous imagination is a weapon more powerful than any devastation. It is an uplifting story about hope and triumph...and certainly a film worth making the effort to see...

 

 

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