Perhaps you’ve gone to the movies recently and been confronted with the trailer for a film titled Welcome to Marwen and thought, What in god’s name is this movie about?
Welcome to Marwen stars Steve Carrell as a man who suffers brain damage from being brutally beaten in a fight. To help with his memories, he constructs an elaborate village populated by dolls inspired by real people in this life, played by actors like Janelle Monáe, Leslie Mann, and Gwendoline Christie, to name a few. There are a lot of animated scenes, in which women are rendered down into sexily dressed dolls.
The movie makes a little more sense if you’ve seen the source material, the critically acclaimed documentary Marwencol which does not render its storyline into a commercial tearjerker. And yet, that still doesn’t explain why this Carrell movie needed to exist. Welcome to Marwen did not look like it was going to be a good movie from the moment I saw its trailer, and the reviews rolling in seem to confirm my suspicion that it’s absolutely awful.
Welcome to Marwen is just about the worst movie anybody involved in it has ever made [Vox]
But then instead of letting [the actresses] play their actual characters, Welcome to Marwen mostly reduces these women to their roles in Mark’s story, then turns them into hypersexualized dolls who populate the tiny, fictional town of Marwen.
Welcome to Marwen Is a Totally Confounding Movie [Vulture]
We should perhaps be suspicious when the art made about an artist begins to overshadow the artist’s actual work.
‘Welcome to Marwen’ Review: Playing With Toys and Putting Away Childish Things [New York Times]
It’s as if a Wes Anderson movie got stuck inside a Tim Burton movie that the cast has been told is a television sitcom.
‘Welcome to Marwen’: Film Review [The Hollywood Reporter]
The one weak link in the production is Carell as the real-world Hogancamp. He often overdoes his character’s savant-like tics and at worst comes close to parody. In one scene, he screams in what’s supposed to be anguish, and you can’t help thinking of Michael Scott doing his “No, God! Nooooooooooooooooo!!!” routine from The Office.
Steve Carell tugs at the heart, but ‘Welcome to Marwen’ is tiresome [New York Post]
Tonally, it’s all over the place: When Mark brought his jeep full of Barbies to his attackers’ court sentencing, people in my audience laughed, though the moment seemed intended as pathos.
‘Welcome to Marwen’ Film Review: Robert Zemeckis Shrinks a True Story’s Impact to Doll Size [The Wrap]
“Welcome to Marwen” is, in a word, indescribable. But not in a good way.
‘Welcome to Marwen’ Review: An Excess of Fantasy [Wall Street Journal]
Yet the results are mind-numbingly immense, joylessly violent and utterly lifeless. Guns blaze incessantly. Bombs explode deafeningly, while trombones and tympani blast from the Dolby rafters. And maybe it should be equally unsurprising, but I, for one, could not have imagined the extent to which Mr. Zemeckis would sexualize the source material.
‘Welcome to Marwen’ Review: Trauma, Triumph Get Stuck in the Dollhouse [Rolling Stone]
Just when this real-world intrigue gets going, Zemeckis turns all the women into their doll counterparts and flesh once again surrenders to fantasy. It’s a shame, really: Hogancamp deserves better, and so do audiences.
Film Review: ‘Welcome to Marwen’ [Variety]
The Marwen scenes are intricately staged, yet watching a character who looks and acts like a human-doll Steve Carell isn’t quite what you would call involving.