Review: Welcome to Marwen

Image retrieved from IMDb

Welcome to Marwen is a confusing movie. It has a straightforward plot and it follows its own rules, but the reason I say it’s confusing is, why does this guy get a pass for basically being downright creepy?

This film tells the story of Mark Hogancamp, who is brutally attacked in a hate crime due to the fact that Mark likes to wear women’s shoes. When this piece of information is revealed, it seems like the logical choice to root for him. Because, why would you not think the guy who was targeted because of hate would be in the right? Well, he is until you realize what he has decided to do as therapy.

Mark has created a small town in his backyard composed of dolls. This part is great and it is awesome that he has this therapeutic experience in the comfort of his own home. Some of the best sequences of the movie come from this location. Scenes reminiscent of Toy Story occur, and they are really fun and enjoyable to watch.

But then you realize that many of the dolls that Mark has are modeled after women that he knows in real life. This is fine on its own, until it is revealed that Mark heavily sexualizes these women. The doll that represents him – Hogie – is toxically masculine. All the women of Marwen love him because of his excessive manliness. This could be seen as Mark compensating for the sexuality that caused him to be the victim of a horrible crime, but he takes it too far.

For some reason, Mark is given a pass as he treats his friends and people who want to help him in an exploitive manner. There is one specific instance where one of his friends comes over to see that the doll that represents her is completely topless. She gives Mark a stern look and asks why she isn’t wearing a shirt, but doesn’t tell him why this is obviously wrong.

Now I don’t know the true story that this is based off of. Honestly, there should be a little bit of an issue of the real Mark Hogancamp is given that sort of pass to treat his friends this way. But no matter how the real Hogie acts, Welcome to Marwen did a poor job of painting him in a positive light.

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