Marrowbone Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by Magnet Releasing
Written and directed by Sergio G. Sanchez
2017, 110 min, Rated R
Released theatrically and on VOD on April 13th, 2018
George MacKay as Jack
Charlie Heaton as Billy
Mia Goth as Jane
Anna Taylor-Joy as Allie
Marrowbone begins with so much hope: a family ready to start life again. After escaping their ruthless and brutal father, the Fairbairn children and their mother leave England to find sanctuary in rural America. Rechristened as the Marrowbone clan, they have a few fleeting months of happiness before their mother, sick and exhausted, passes away and leaves her children with a mission: Jack, Billy, Jane, and Sam must stay together. Forever. It’s a promise they intend to keep, but when Jack’s love interest is pursued by another man with the means to expose the parentless minors, it may take drastic measures to stay together.
I thought I knew what was unspoken with Marrowbone from the opening act. It seems rather straightforward if not sentimental about small town life and love. But I was definitely wrong. Marrowbone keeps its secrets and surprises the *%#^ out of you when you least expect it. I wish I could explain more, but I really want you to watch this, so I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag.
The cast includes a roster of “wow, they’re really taking off” names: Charlie Heaton of Stranger Things is Billy; Mia Goth of A Cure for Wellness; George MacKay of 11.22.63; and Anna Taylor-Joy, who’s been in a lot of awesome freaky stuff like The VVitch and Split. Taylor-Joy’s character is a bit of a trope: a young woman with a brain destined for bigger things than her farming village, who ends up torn between two suitors. Fortunately the surprises in the story overshadow that small annoyance and her character’s flaws are more of a relief than an annoyance. I can also appreciate the over-simplified reasons that Kyle Soller’s rival suitor character would lash out rather than behave like a sleek, complicated supervillain.
Marrowbone is slow and methodical, but it doesn’t bore. It watches its step, but the tiptoeing is just as much sneaky as sneaking. It’s purposefully disguising the horrifying, incredible truth from you and it’s so much freakin’ fun. The only bummer is one of the awful secrets the family is keeping is given up early in the movie. It’s upsetting, but not as shocking as it could have been had they all been revealed in a gut-wrenching one-two punch right at the climax.
The ending isn’t even fairy-tale happy, but it’s satisfying enough that you won’t really mind. Marrowbone is an oddly balanced, eerily sweet movie that’s a combination of hope and despair in just the right proportion. It’s a strange reminder to hang on.