(2018) (Steve Carell, Leslie Mann) (PG-13)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: Having survived a beating by a group of neo-Nazis, a former illustrator turns to photographing dolls -- that he imagines as living beings set in a scale model of WWII era Belgium -- as a means of dealing with his PTSD.
- Three years ago, Mark Hogancamp (STEVE CARELL) was beaten to within an inch of his life by five neo-Nazis after they learned that he occasionally liked to wear women's shoes. With most of his physical wounds now healed, he's still dealing with severe PTSD and has no memory of his personal life from before the attack. As a means of coping, he's created a scale model in his backyard of a fictitious WWII era Belgian town that he's named Marwen and where he stages various war-time scenes that he photographs.
There, he imagines a doll version of himself, Capt. Hogie, who battles Nazis (representing the men who attacked him) while getting armed assistance from a group of female dolls representing real-life women who helped him get through his ordeal. While some of them are from his past -- including G.I. Julie (JANELLE MONAE) -- and another represents his favorite adult actress -- Suzette (LESLIE ZEMECKIS), the rest represent people still in his life.
That includes his nurse, Anna (GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE), who makes house calls and brings him his anti-anxiety medication; Carlala (EIZA GONZALEZ) who works with him at a local bar; and Roberta (MERRITT WEVER) who runs the local hobby shop and provides him with props and new dolls for his village. The latest such addition is a red-headed one to represent Nicol (LESLIE MANN) who's just moved in across the street and is quickly accepting of Mark's quirks and damaged soul, especially in contrast to her ex-boyfriend, Kurt (NEIL JACKSON), who occasionally shows up to harass her.
In Mark's imagination, the women are all gun-toting "dames" who have no problem blasting the various Nazi dolls, including their leader, Hauptsturmführer Ludwig Topf (FALK HENTSCHEL). But the Nazis won't stay dead thanks to the sorcery of a Belgian witch, Dejah Thoris (DIANE KRUGER), who also stymies any romance Mark tries to pursue. All of which, of course, represents Mark's tormented psyche and his reaction to his lawyer urging him to appear in court for the sentencing of his real-life attackers, something he's not sure he can do.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- It's hard to say as the talking doll bit might be enticing to some, but it's not designed for kids in the slightest.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
- For sequences of fantasy violence, some disturbing images, brief suggestive content, thematic material and language.
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