By Jennifer Nanek
News Film Critic 

"May December" a Dark Comedy on Netflix

 

Last updated 2/5/2024 at 2:02pm

Courtesy Netflix

Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore star in the Netflix movie "May December" in which an actresses' preparation for a role uncovers a long-forgotten scandal and reopens old wounds.

This is a dark comedy starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton in a story loosely based on Mary Kay Letourneau and her affair with one of her young students. It is directed by Todd Haynes.

In this film, Natalie Portman plays Elizabeth, an actress who is going to play a part in a movie based on the relationship between Gracie and Joe, played respectfully by Julianne Moore and Charles Melton.

The movie takes place in Savannah Georgia, a beautiful historic setting that conveys a sense of tradition with a bit of the exotic.

Elizabeth comes and visits this family and community to learn all about the details of this unusual affair. As the movie goes on the actress adopts more and more of her subject's looks, mannerisms and behavior. It gets creepy towards the end.

The acting is outstanding, both Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman deliver exceptional performance,s as one would expect, but the breakout star is Charles Melton who's playing the young husband and father. Throughout this movie he slowly begins to realize what he gave up by getting involved into in a relationship so young and what really happened to him. The last part of the movie he carries really well. He very much holds his own against these two major movie stars.

The dynamics of the relationships among these three characters gets weirder as the movie goes on. It takes the viewer a little bit to realize what is happening.

There's some plot elements that are really funny. You wouldn't think that this is a topic one could make jokes about but there are some funny spots in this movie.

The film cleverly uses humor to tackle uncomfortable truths about aging, societal expectations, and the malleability of memory. It encourages viewers to question preconceived notions and delve deeper into the characters' motivations. The exploration of power dynamics, particularly regarding the Hollywood machine and its exploitation of personal narratives, adds another layer of intrigue.

What truly elevates "May December" is its ability to spark conversation and linger in the mind long after the credits roll. The film doesn't shy away from posing difficult questions, leaving viewers to ponder the nature of truth, the impact of choices, and the enduring power of the past.

This production was nominated for one Oscar, for best original screenplay. It got several Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations.

I highly recommend this movie, and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

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