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May December: review

Updated: 6 days ago

It is a story of mirrors, doubles and scandalous relationships that Todd Haynes chooses to tell in May December, in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, using two stars and actresses of the highest level such as Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. The first plays with her usual impeccable dedication Elizabeth Berry, a famous actress determined to interpret the true story of a still living woman, Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore). To do this, she wants to find out as much information as possible and chooses to go in person to Savannah, Georgia, to get to know her, her family, her neighbors and her entire context better.                                                                    The story is a shocking one: twenty years earlier Gracie was caught red-handed while she was flirting with a thirteen-year-old in the back of the pet shop where she worked. When she ended up in prison it became a case: the story caused a scandal because she was twenty years older than her and he was a minor, and then she too because she became pregnant with her. We meet her when all this is just a memory, her family life with Joe (Charles Melton) now 36 years old continues with their three children ready to leave home to go to college. She spends her days preparing dubious cakes for the neighborhood, while he raises butterflies, and their daily life goes into crisis with the arrival of Elizabeth. Portman returns to a role very similar to that of Black Swan in terms of working on the double and on specularity. She is called upon to interpret, in fact, a version of Julianne Moore, to resemble her in gestures, expressions, appearance, and the work done by both is truly remarkable.

How remarkable is the director's hand, already applauded for “Carol”with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, who this time fills with anxiety a story that overturns the current reality of predatory and sexist discourses, pointing the spotlight (never the finger) about an admittedly naïve woman who built her family on a scandalous extramarital affair with a minor and about another woman who tries to step into her shoes and experience the same emotions as her, to the extreme consequences.The cast of May December offers impeccable performances capable of remaining memorable for a long time, the pace of the film gradually becomes more and more pressing in a passionate, and in some points passionate, crescendo of emotions, doubts and suspicions without ever the ax of judgment . A damned interesting film, obsessive, at times morbid but capable of creeping under the skin and meandering for a long time. Even after the ending entrusted to a metacinema in which it is no coincidence that the serpent of biblical temptation arises, sinful yet irresistible.

Written by Guendalina Porta


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