Film – Welcome to Marwen

Film – Welcome to Marwen

Well, this was a surprise. The (based on a true life) story of how a man Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) who was brutally beaten-up, copes with having his memory erased and yet endures the nightmares of that night, is remarkably entertaining.

A former artist now unable to hold pencils, he’s switched to photography and lives vicariously through the characters he photographs; dolls. The dolls all, based on real-life people, ‘act’ out scenes of WW2 and apart from his own character, Captain Hogie, all are women fighting to keep their Belgium village free off German soldiers.

The women of Marwen protect me

In real life, he lives alone, works part-time in a kitchen and is surrounded by friends who look out for him. The world he retreats to is the mini Belgium village in his garden, which attracts the attention of his new neighbour, Nicol. She’s fine with his fondness for wearing (women’s) high heels and even gifts him a pair, her nasty ex, is less amicable, much like the men emblazoned with Nazi tattoos who attacked him. As Nicol learns Mark’s story, we are introduced to his tireless lawyer who is trying to persuade him to testify in court, to Roberta who runs the local toy shop and to Anna his Russian nurse who pleads with him to take his pills as prescribed. We also learn that his photography is about to be shown at a gallery.

I loved how the film dipped in and out of showing real life and how Mark saw the world through making up stories with the dolls.  The scene with Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love especially put a big smile on my face. However, it’s the court scene that bought the audience to its knees.

This is a film for today.


(Although 15 years ago, I guess Tom Hanks would have been in the lead role)

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