Friday, May 31, 2019

Movie Review: “Welcome to Marwen”

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13
Running time: 1 hour and 56 minutes

Based on a true story, “Welcome to Marwen” is about Mark Hogancamp, also known as Cap’n Hogie, (Steve Carrell) who was assaulted by several Natzis for being different and wearing women’s shoes.

The movie opens in the sky above Belgium during World War II, where we meet Cap’n Hogie as his plane is about to crash. The plane goes down and his shoes are burned up. As Cap’n Hogie is walking along, he finds a suitcase that is filled with women’s clothing and a pair of high heels. He puts them on. As he’s walking through the grass, he comes upon a group of Nazis who push him to the ground and assault him. It is later revealed that this scene is being acted out by Mark Hogancamp; who uses his action figures who inhabit his town of Marwen, as a therapeutic outlet to deal with his assault.

Every action figure he has represents a person in his life (the woman at the hobby shop, his physical therapist who helped him learn to walk again, etc.). Mark suffers from anxiety, is really hurting and is abusing his medicine. Mark is contacted by his lawyer who heavily encourages him to attend the trial of his attackers and testify against them. Mark does not want to go, he’s too anxious. He meets Nicol (Leslie Mann), who moves in across the street. Nicol befriends Mark right away. When Nicol asks Mark about his past, he explains to her about the attack and that he lost most of his memories as a result of it.

A short time later, Mark’s lawyer tries to convince him to come to the trial and testify. He agrees to do so, but with the help of his friend Roberta (Merritt Wever), who works at the hobby shop. He has a panic attack during the sentencing, and it looks like he might not be able to go through with it. He needs the help of his friends, e.g. his action figures, which he never goes anywhere without.
Will Mark be able to face his attackers and testify in court?

To be honest, this movie was good, but not as good as I wanted it to be. Steve Carrell is a phenomenal actor and plays the part of this suffering man well. The movie drags in spots and I found other parts confusing. The end left me with several questions. It has a nice message about acceptance and it being okay to be different. This was a good story about a guy who went through a lot and found a way to cope. Although this wasn’t the best movie, it also wasn’t the worst. It’s probably worth the Redbox rental.

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