May December (2023)

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May December (2023). 1h 57m | R

“A profound character piece about some very not too deep characters – or at least one who has deluded/distorted who she is into this sweet mother and housewife who did a… disgusting thing, and a husband who isnstarting to open up, like a butterfly…. or thatu0026#39;s how hed like to think of himself, or the climax of this could be the start.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIf Todd Haynes had a Douglas Sirk film previously with Far From Heaven in a sort of classical mold – how people were somewhat more shaped by their circumstances at that period of time zz this is another but spiked to the brim with the acid satire of 21st century tabloid u0026quot;storiesu0026quot; (donu0026#39;t neglect when the actress Elizabeth slips and talks about these real peopleu0026#39;s lives as u0026quot;storiesu0026quot; or scenarios of a kind), and how what can be turned into pulpy melodrama through the act of dramatization is actually not all that deep. And yet at the same time there is a tragedy of loss (childhood for example) amid the notions of what it means to u0026quot;recontextualizeu0026quot; through performance.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is a credit to the brilliant screenplay by Samy Burch and Alex Mechanik, but Haynes has such an awesome command of his medium for the most part and giving the space the actors, Moore and Portman (that one monologue to the camera, as commanding a moment as she will ever deliver) and Melton who comes close to running away with this as the only character who is realizing what a… *problem* this all is.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eMay December (what a title by the way) is also the kind of experience you need to sit with for a few minutes after it ends, not necessarily for its insights, though it does give us apt and biting and all too true insight about how the u0026quot;complex/morally grayu0026quot; people who actors and the like try to study are sometimes… not (re: Jeffrey Dahmer, and other lessor True Crime scansls), but because of how the ending is an anti-climax that sort of pulls the rug out from expectations of this building to a conventional thriller point (ie who will get killed if at all).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIt instead recontextualizes what this is about: how people tell themselves what they want and/or need to get through their lives and work – that goes for Gracie and how sheu0026#39;s chosen to distort herself (the u0026quot;Naiveu0026quot; comment about herself isnu0026#39;t wrong, but the Lizard brain part of her knows how to move and manipulate in her way, hence what she says in that explosive argument scene in the bedroon), but also Elizabeth and her career and Joe and how he sees his life with this woman, now at the age she was when the statutory rape occurred. And the community around them that doesnu0026#39;t bat an eye anymore about what this family is? Shrug. People forget these things, it seems.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eNo matter how happy youu0026#39;ve think you are or how many cakes you can make (or, nah, sheu0026#39;s not really making that many), or what the kids think of all this (mostly just… whatever), love and control of reality are quite malleable. In other words, May December is a gripping satire Melodrama pop culture commentary with a couple of narrative loose ends I can acknowledge but mostly overlook (the asthma I thought would play a little more of a plant/payoff role, and some odd editing in the graduation set piece) because of the strengths; the performances are among not only the finest of the year but ones all the leading actors should be proud to say are highpoints of their careers.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI mean, the Gracie voice? No notes. Last but certainly not least – itu0026#39;s the kind of film that feels of a piece with the Youu0026#39;re Wrong About podcast, looking at a real life case and going u0026quot;wait… letu0026#39;s debunk this and show how things can just be… dumb and silly and shallow.u0026quot; Great, incivise, uncomfortable times.”


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