THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is a psychological thriller about a woman named Helena, who protects her young daughter from her manipulative, violent father, an expert woodsman and prison escapee known as the Marsh King. Raised to trust her father blindly as she grows up, Helena discovers that he had kidnapped her mother and held her against her will. After Helena has her own daughter, her father breaks out of prison and seeks to take back the “family” he lost.
THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is a hauntingly beautiful film that entrances the eye with vivid lighting, potent filmography, and a disturbing villain, the hallmark of any great thriller. This movie is not simply a re-treading of the common narrative of overcoming one’s trauma. It’s a quest for Helena to reclaim the meaning of family for her daughter, so that young Marigold doesn’t grow up associating “family” with evil, as Helena was forced to do. THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is a deeply sacrificial story of a woman who, relying on the unconditional love of her stepfather and husband, fights to protect her child from darkness.
(BB, C, L, VV, M):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral pro-marriage, pro-family worldview where family and love conquer trauma and evil, a contrast is made between the man who kidnapped a woman and her mother, who treated them selfishly, and the woman’s husband, who loves her unconditionally and accepts her brokenness as part of her, deception and manipulation are portrayed negatively, and movie promotes protecting one’s family, even to the point of life and death.;
Three obscenities, one Jesus profanity, and two light profanities;
Strong violence includes four homicides using a handgun with mild blood, mild hand to hand combat, and indirect allusions to domestic violence;
Woman dresses down to a tank top and underwear non-sexually to show her husband the tattoos a kidnapper made her get when she was younger;
No alcohol use;
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,
Deception, manipulation including of a child, kidnapping, breaking and entering to terrorize someone.
THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is a psychological thriller about a woman named Helena, who grows up under the loving instruction of her woodsman father, Jacob Holbrook. She is raised to avoid her emotionless mother until one day, her mother takes advantage of a passing outdoorsman’s arrival in the family’s remote camp to steal an ATV and escape the wild with Helena. At the police station, Helena learns that her father, known colloquially as “The Marsh King,” actually kidnapped her mother years ago and dragged her into the woods so she could not escape him.
Helena grows up in denial of her groomed upbringing. She covers up the pseudo-indigenous tattoos Holbrook gave her, and she has a family of her own, a husband, Stephen, and daughter, Marigold. Yet not even Stephen knows who she really is, until Holbrook makes national news for escaping from a prisoner transport, and the FBI comes knocking on Helena’s door. After learning why Helena kept her identity a secret, Stephen forgives her for lying about her past and helps her protect Marigold from the escaped Marsh King.
Despite the best efforts of a police escort and Helena’s ex-cop stepfather, Holbrook still finds a way to enter her home and threaten her daughter. Helena reluctantly returns to their old homestead to confront her father. She convinces him to leave her and Marigold alone, but her stepfather followed her without her knowledge. Believing that Helena betrayed him, Holbrook shoots and kills her stepfather and throws her into a pit while he goes to collect Marigold. Using the skills he taught her as a child, she climbs out and hunts him down so he can’t hurt her daughter. They fight desperately until Helena recalls Holbrook’s most important lesson, “Always protect your family,” and kills him. She takes his boat and paddles peacefully down the river, knowing that her family is safe.
THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is a hauntingly beautiful film that entrances the eye with vivid lighting, potent camera work, and a uniquely disturbing villain, the hallmark of any great thriller. The audience experiences Helena’s trauma firsthand as she practically inflicts the terror on herself after her father’s escape, as much as he himself does. However, Helena’s story is not simply a re-treading of the common narrative of overcoming one’s trauma, but rather a quest to reclaim the meaning of family for her daughter, so that young Marigold doesn’t grow up associating “family” with evil, as Helena was forced to do. As such, the movie is a deeply selfless, sacrificial story of a woman who, relying upon the unconditional love of her stepfather and husband, fights to protect her child from darkness.
THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER has a strong pro-family message and depicts Holbrook’s corruption of the family unit as evil, contrasting it with Stephen’s love for and devotion to Helena as an example of what family should really be. Due to its foul language and moderate gun violence, caution is advised for older children.
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