Opening March 28, 2018
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Writing credits: Caroline Thompson, Robert Zemeckis
Principal actors: Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Merritt Wever, Gwendoline Christie, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González
Welcome to Marwen tells the true story of one man’s road to recovery. Mark Hogankamp (Steve Carell) was brutally attacked, and, when he came out of his coma, he lost all memory of his previous life. In trying to piece together his life, Mark realized he was an artist but he can no longer draw. So he turns his talents into creating the town of Marwen, a WW2 Belgian village. He has meticulously created this town in miniature and populated it with dolls and photographs the predicaments he imagines his character, a WW2 combat pilot, encounters. In his imagined exploits he is continually overtaken by enemy Nazi soldiers and is always rescued by his band of women warriors.
In the animated scenes of Captain Hogie’s escapades the characters retain their doll-like physiques while embodying the essence of his real-life saviors – physical therapist (Janelle Monáe), co-worker (Eiza González), home health-care worker (Gwendoline Christie), toy store owner (Merritt Wever) and his new neighbor (Leslie Mann).These women not only save Captain Hogie from the clutches of the Nazis but they encourage Mark Hogankamp in real life to overcome the obstacles in his road to recovery. They push him when he needs to be pushed but they also not only indulge, but participate in, his fantasy world. While many people would be quick to condemn Mark’s fantasy world as nonsense, their acceptance of him allows him the time he needs to recover.
As Mark journeys toward tackling his real-life challenges, the rationale of his fantasy world is revealed. The animation is excellent and gives action to an otherwise quiet and quirky depiction of Mark. A heartwarming story on the power of tolerance. (Anne C.)