Analysis of May December Movie
The Analysis of May December Movie begins with simultaneous chaos in two locales. Natalie Portman’s gorgeous character arrives at a chic boutique hotel while muttering into her Bluetooth headset. Another woman (Julianne Moore) is currently in the closing stages of preparing a get-together at her seaside property. She walks up to the fridge and gazes at its interior. As the music builds to an unsettling crescendo, the camera closes in on her face. The result is so shocking that you could think a decapitated head was hiding in the fridge. It’s the first serious indication of what the film is going to be doing as well as how it’s going to be doing it. A lady speaks bluntly into the air, “I don’t believe we have sufficient hot dogs.”
The mundane, the empty ritual, the chasm underneath the veneer of conformity are all terrifying to Todd Haynes. The torture of 1950s melodramas had a profound effect on him. These are not only decorative touches. They communicate how one feels emotionally. Haynes finds amusement in the irony, but is aware of the seriousness of the situation. Because of the gravity of the situation, laughing at “May December” would be unwise. The film’s warped hilarity stems in part from this sense of impending doom. Haynes’ “May December” constitutes one of his most discordant and controversial works.
TV actress Elizabeth Berry has flown to Savannah, Georgia to see her “indie” film character, Gracie Atherton (Moore), played by the local girl. Inexplicably, given the circumstances, Gracie has decided to let this total stranger stay with her and her family for the week or so that her twins graduates from their senior year. What could this average woman have done to justify the film being made around her? Her biggest problem is that there aren’t enough hot dogs. Gracie, now 36 and married with children, worked at a pet store where she and her coworker had a “affair” 20 years previously. This other employee, called Joe, was freshman in the eighth grade. Gracie gave birth to Joe’s child while incarcerated. Unsurprisingly, the tale was a huge hit with the tabloids. Gracie served her sentence, and then she and Joe were married. They’ll soon be empty nesters after raising three kids. In the pet store where they originally met, Gracie was 36 and Joe (Charles Melton) had become the same age.
The story by Samy Burch is somewhat reminiscent of Mary Kay Letourneau, although “May December” has oddity and subjectivity in plenty. There is an almost complete lack of curiosity in the film on “what happened” and “why.” The characters in “May December” avoid using definite language. The tectonic plates keep shifting, and whenever you believe you’ve found stable footing, you’re left grabbing at thin air. The events in “May December” seem so reprehensible that a moral judgement is required, and yet the farther one reads into the story, the more muddled things get. It’s disturbing to be puzzled in a film concerning this subject.
The way our opinions of Elizabeth shift is one of the ruses at play here. At first glance, Elizabeth appears to be a lovely enough woman who is only doing her research for a part in which she has expressed interest. From what we can gather, her career thus far has been uninspiring, therefore she clearly has her sights set on a more demanding endeavour. Because of the taboo nature of discussing Gracie and Joe’s history, Elizabeth feels like a naive tourist in a foreign land. Like us, she is her. The film is filled to the brim with unpleasant sequences, but the most unsettling occurs when she gets the opportunity to talk to a high school theatre club and the Q&A session takes a wildly unexpected turn. You have to radically re-think Elizabeth. This is not the final instance.
Elizabeth resembles Gracie in subtle ways. She imitates her lip colour, slurred speech, posture, and wardrobe choices. Multiple sequences include mirrors, including one in which Elizabeth is sandwiched between two Gracies while reclining in the same position. The two characters have a long “Persona”-esque sequence in which they look straight into the camera while standing side by side; in this case, Gracie is applying cosmetics while Elizabeth observes her intently. Another odd feature in a film about a real-life criminal predator is Elizabeth’s predatory desire to “become” Gracie. Because of the gradual nature of Portman’s work, it is surprisingly challenging. Is her change a result of her “developing” Gracie, and is the true Elizabeth finally emerging? Portman’s interpretation of the words “This is what adult individuals do” was a complete gut hit I did not regain my composure.
What makes Julianne Moore’s portrayal so intriguing is the realisation that maybe Gracie isn’t more complicated than she seems. She is confident in her actions since she loves her spouse. She continues her conversation with Elizabeth without realising how “off” she comes off. “I was extremely secured, and he evolved very fast,” according to her. Is she even aware of how ridiculous that sounds? If you’re seeking for replies, the actress is not ready to deliver them on a plate. The work is intriguing and brave.