In Martha Marcy May Marlene, the feature debut of director Sean Durkin, Elizabeth Olsen, 22, plays a young woman who escapes a sexually abusive cult. Olsen, who is the younger sister of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, is getting rave reviews for the psychologically complex performance, which pits her opposite actors John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy.

Since screening at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and becoming an official selection at Cannes, Martha Marcy May Marlene has been building buzz not just for its promising new director but particularly for Olsen, who has not starred in such a prominent role until now. She will appear in two other films this year — Peace, Love & Misunderstanding and Silent House.

"The story hinges on a believable lead performance, and Olsen is mesmerizing in her first film role," reviewer Claudia Puig wrote in USA Today. "She starts out wide-eyed and vulnerable and eventually assumes the look of a captive, communicating raw paranoia with subtle gestures." Read more about Olsen here.

Martha Marcy May Marlene opens in limited release Friday. Watch the trailer here:


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