WELCOME TO MARWEN- Karl Sides (the Flick Fanatics)



Steve Carell- Mark Hogankamp

Leslie Mann- Nicol

Merritt Wever- Roberta

Diane Kruger- Deja

Steve Carell invents a fantasy land to escape his nightmare in his reality in the new film “Welcome to Marwen”.

Director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) brings the true story of artist Mark Hogankamp, the victim of a terrible hate crime that left him a shell of his former self but finds a new way to express his artist view and heal himself through photography in the new drama “Welcome to Marwen”.

Mark Hogankamp is an accomplished comic book artist with an attraction to women’s shoes. He collects them and wears them. After a few too many drinks at the local bar Mark announced it and it provoked a group of Arian thugs to beat him to an inch of his life and leave him for dead in the street.

Mark had to endure physical therapy to repair his body but was left barely able to write his name and never to draw again. Hogankamp created a new vehicle to express his artistic vision and help himself heal mentally through his action figures and WWII era model town of Marwen he erected in his backyard. Hogankamp brings a new “person” into Marwen for every real person who he is helped or befriended by in life and they become the women of Marwen.

The women of Marwen are Carlala (his co-worker), GI Julie (his therapy coach), Anna (his home health nurse) and Roberta (the woman from hobby store that sells him his dolls). The Women of Marwen are always there to save Hoagie (Mark) when the Nazis (the thugs that beat him) attack Marwen. Hogankamp has another doll that has no human counterpart, Deja the witch of Marwen. Mark believes Deja is obsessed with Hoagie and anyone that gets close to him is doomed.

Mark has a new neighbor move in across the street, Nicol, an outgoing lady that is escaping a bad relationship that develops an instant friendship with Mark. Nicol moves into Marwen as the new owner of the tea house (Nicol collects teapots). Hoagie and Nicol fall for each other and Mark is worried how Deja will take this.

Mark is also facing difficulty in life with his lawyer begging him to come and testify at the sentencing hearing for the thugs that beat him, and he has a showing of his photographs and Roberta volunteers to get Mark to the events.

Welcome to Marwen is a great film to show the perseverance of the human spirit with Hogankamp using photography and dolls to regain his artistic vision and also regain his courage to venture out in the real world. Steve Carell is amazing opposite the lovely Leslie Mann in and out of the miniature town of Marwen. I was really impressed by the performance of Merritt Wever as the hobby shop girl that has a crush on Hogankamp and tries desperately to get him to go out with her.

I can’t recommend Welcome to Marwen enough. Marwen is two hours of fun entertainment from a director that has given us the best feel good film ever in Forrest Gump. You will also be amazed at the special effects that transform the cast into living dolls that bring the imaginary town of Marwen to life!

I encourage you to explore the real Mark Hogankamp and the actual Marwen photos at his traveling show.

Flickanalysis : 4/5 purple hearts


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