Cannes – Natalie Portman shines in Todd Haynes’ latest release, “May December,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival over the weekend. The movie is a haunting drama with a dash of comedy and exaggeration, revolving around actress Portman doing research for an upcoming movie. The film takes on ethical issues concerning acting and identity, with Portman’s character struggling to decipher the blurred lines between reality and fiction.
The film’s script, written by Samy Burch, showcases a deliberate and light tone that successfully navigates controversial themes. Haynes praised the rigor in the script and expressed his excitement at the opportunity to visually translate the story. Haynes focuses on exploring the gaps between the values and ideas held by characters and those of actors portraying them. He found Portman to be an actress who shared his approach to filmmaking.
The film’s story has some roots in reality, with Gracie — the character played by Julianne Moore — bearing some semblance to Mary Kay Letourneau, a Washington state teacher who was sentenced to prison for illicit affair with a boy in her sixth-grade class. Haynes has touched on themes of identity and artifice in his previous works, such as “Carol” and “Far from Heaven.”
Portman plays an actress more reckless than herself, but she navigates the character with empathy and curiosity, avoiding satire. The energy she brings in while portraying a character stems from empathy rather than an opportunity to capitalize on human emotion and history.
The film’s release is exciting news for movie fans looking for a thought-provoking and captivating cinematic experience. “May December” is actively looking for distribution, and Portman’s performance has already generated positive reviews from many critics.