Cannes 2023: May December Receives Rave Reviews
Todd Haynes is a known director who delivers sensitive depictions of complicated personal relationships that often fall outside societal expectations. Titles such as Carol (94%), Dark Waters (100%), and Far from Heaven (87%) have all received critical acclaim under Haynes’ direction. May December, his latest feature, takes on a complicated relationship between an older woman and a much younger boy.
Starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, May December premiered at Cannes to standing ovations and rave reviews. The two actresses are no strangers to critical success, and their performances in May December are no exception.
The film revolves around the story of Elizabeth Berry (Portman), an actress who becomes involved with a woman who caused a scandal twenty years earlier when she married one of her students. The dynamics of the relationship between the woman and her husband will be put to the test as Berry seeks to portray the woman on stage.
May December explores complex themes surrounding the power dynamic between a teacher and student, abuse within the school system, and the ethical dimensions of complicated relationships. Critics have praised the film’s tonal playfulness and the performances of Portman and Moore.
Haynes’ direction has been described as “fun and elegant” by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian and “heady, mature, and committed” by Tomris Laffly of The Wrap. Stephanie Zacharek of TIME Magazine finds the film “seductive enough to keep us following her, one betrayal after another.”
May December is a provocative, humorous, and fascinatingly layered study of our defined identities and the isolation that comes with them. Critics agree that the film is a must-see and is undoubtedly going to be a top contender in the upcoming awards season.