Welcome to Marwen Review

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

That’ll be christmas then.

Don’t take my word for it, take Andy Williams’.

In cinemas, christmas means one thing – the family film.

And who better than Robert Zemeckis, the man behind such brilliant family films as Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, to helm Welcome to Marwen?

There’s just one catch – Zemeckis may have just inadvertently created the first fetish friendly family film.

Mark Hogancamp is a talented artist with a taste for pushing boundaries and wearing women’s shoes.

You could almost say the two go foot in foot.

Almost.

Unfortunately for Hogie, the red neck yokels at his local bar don’t take too kindly to, well, anything that deviates from the very narrow spectrum they’ve deemed acceptable in their boring, vanilla existences.

Weirdly, tattoos of ss insignia are fine… so they’d probably fit right in with their president these days.

As well as our very own goose stepping tory government.

Beaten to within an inch of his life, Hogancamp makes a miraculous recovery from death’s door – but this assault has left its mark.

The injuries he sustained mean Hogancamp can no longer create art in the way he used to, so he comes up with a new medium to express his artistic voice.

Dolls.

Specifically, photographing them.

Robbed of his painterly talents, Hogancamp dreams up a new world – Marwen – that revolves around his heroic alter ego ‘Cap’n Hogie’ as he fights his way through a made up Belgian town under attack from Nazi’s during WW2.

With a little help from his local barbie shop.

Of course, photographing his whole new world isn’t just a way for Hogancamp to carry on creating, but it’s also a coping mechanism for dealing with the trauma of his attack.

As well as a handy way for Hogie to immortalise his growing collection of female friends who aid his recovery.

But will our tortured artist find a way to break on through to the other side and confront his past, or will he remain forever imprisoned by this hateful act?

Welcome to Marwen is the stranger than fiction true life tale of american artist Mark Hogancamp, and the extraordinary circumstances behind his creative reinvention after he was almost beaten to death for the crime of embracing his femininity.

God bless america.

Despite a stellar cast, which reunites sort of old flames Steve Carell and Leslie Mann from their 40 Year Old Virgin days of yore, and having box office favourite Zemeckis behind the camera, there’s something about Marwen that just doesn’t quite add up.

And that something is the story they’re telling really isn’t PG / 13 material.

It’s hard enough to handle the idea of a man almost being murdered by a bunch of mentally deficient, pituitary retards for the heinous crime of them assuming he was gay.

And Welcome to Marwen largely glosses over this.

But the weirdest thing is the hyper sexualisation of female characters come barbie dolls that populate Hogancamp’s world according to Marwen.

Of course, as this is art, this is not an aspect that can be easily changed – but in this post #metoo landscape, I can’t remember a family film ever feeling so out of touch with its time and surroundings.

Which is a shame, as the special effects in transferring facial features from cast to doll are incredible – Welcome to Marwen really does look spectacular.

If they had committed to making an age appropriate film, r rated, Welcome to Marwen could have been a really interesting film.

As it is, it might just be the most awkward movie you can sit down with your family over the holidays.

Which might just be the greatest reason to watch this.

Jonathan Campbell

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