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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

lobsterFamily Values Gone Fishing

The Marsh King's Daughter on IMDb

Plot Overview

fishessaplingsIn the backwoods of Michigan's upper peninsula, survivalist Jacob “The Marsh King” Holbrook (Ben Mendelsohn) teaches his ten-year-old daughter Helena (Brooklynn Prince) to hunt while his woman (Caren Pistorius) minds the cabin and cooks their kill—if any. The couple had run off together to live this life, but she is forcibly prevented from returning, though she tries some­times. She lies saying she'd been abducted, the way Helena (Daisy Ridley) will lie later in life about all her weird tattoos, and to her husband Stephen Pelletier (Garrett Hedlund) about her unconventional past. Once escaped this supposedly abducted woman will marry Clark (Gil Birmingham) of real Indian blood, showing her fascination with that life, though later she'll commit suicide indicating her inherent dissatisfaction with any kind of life. A very troubled lady, that.

girl on computerapplying makeupThe movie skips ahead thirteen years. Helena dabs on makeup to cover her facial tats, works on a computer terminal at the college, and raises her daughter Marigold (Joey Carson) in the regular way. When The Marsh King escapes prison, it makes the papers and the police arrive looking for him. The cat has been let out of the bag, and Helena fesses up about her past. Fearing her dad has designs on his grand­daughter, she makes an odyssey to the old cabin to confront him and put her foot down, but things don't go as planned.


The father's watchword is, “You must always protect your family,” but he seems to have trouble grasping that Helena's allegiance is to her husband & daughter more than to gramps on the lam. In retro­spect The Marsh King seems more like a kook at odds with civilization. His Indian lore is faulty and he disregards many of the dominant conventions of society regarding things like: murder, kidnapping, supply raids, etc. The movie ignores what he was put away for, but it's for a long time and on different counts necessitating changing prisons from time to time, which gives him opportunity to escape.

(Prov. 17:12) “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.” Under peril of swamp man snatching Marigold and disappearing with her into the wild, never to be seen again, Helena will do what needs to be done to protect her family. You wouldn't want to be in his shoes. Still, you would be better off there than being a guy who gets in his way or incon­veniences him. He'd take you out with­out batting an eye.

Production Values

” (2023) was directed by Neil Burger. It was written by Elle Smith and Mark L. Smith based on Karen Dionne's 2017 novel, The Marsh King's Daughter. It stars Daisy Ridley, Ben Mendel­sohn and Brooklynn Prince. Strong acting compensated for the film being pared down from the book. Ridley's body language was reflective of her several dimensions. She also resembled Prince who played her younger part. Mendel­sohn did a good job as a menacing philistine. Gil Birmingham as the Indian seemed more like an extra.

red maple leavesMPAA rated it R for violence. The cinema­tog­raphy and sound­scape were evocative of unspoiled nature. Editing was gentle. The sedate pace led it right along. It was filmed in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. Runtime is 1 hour 48 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I found this movie pleasant to watch; it wasn't trying to be the book. The woods were pretty and pretty dangerous. The kids were cute as well as vulnerable. It would make good family viewing for adults.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.