What’s better than a May-December romance? One with a salacious national scandal attached to it.
Todd Haynes’s 10th feature film “May December” stars Julianne Moore as a predatory woman who seduced an adolescent boy two decades prior; now, Natalie Portman is bringing her story to the big screen, causing personal mayhem for Moore’s secluded suburban lifestyle.
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“May December” is set 20 years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, [as] a married couple (Moore and Charles Melton) buckles under the pressure when actress Elizabeth Berry (Portman) arrives to do research for a film about their past. Meanwhile, Joe, having never fully processed what happened in his youth, starts to confront the reality of life as an empty-nester at 36.
The cast is rounded out by Piper Curda, Elizabeth Yu, and Gabriel Chung, who play Moore and Melton’s onscreen children.
“May December” premiered at Cannes and will open the 2023 New York Film Festival before landing in theaters and streaming on Netflix. Actress Moore previously worked with Haynes on “Safe,” “Wonderstruck,” and “Far from Heaven.”
IndieWire’s Cannes review compared the crucial dynamic between Moore and Portman’s respective characters to slinky psychological thrillers like “All About Eve” and “Persona,” dealing with being an aging woman in the modern male-dominated world. Critic David Ehrlich called “May December” a “catty-as-fuck dark comedy” with a meta twist at celebrity and an actors’ profession as a whole.
“‘May December’ is a film where one of the female leads protects her naïveté like a holy relic (Moore is predictably sensational, her soft-hard performance balancing Gracie on the knife’s edge between childlike fragility and matriarchal savageness), while the other possesses the power to be reborn with every set-up,” Ehrlich wrote. “It’s almost impossible for most of us to start over, as opposed to on a film set where a clean slate is never hard to find.”
The script was penned by Samy Burch, sharing a co-writer and story credit with Alex Mechanik. Lead star Portman produces, along with Will Ferrell, Sophie Mas, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon, Grant S. Johnson, Tyler W. Konney, and Jessica Elbaum. Executive producers include screenwriter Burch, Madeleine K. Rudin, Thomas K. Richards, Lee Broda, Jeff Rice, Jonathan Montepare, Alex Brown, Thorsten Schumacher, and Claire Taylor.
“May December” premieres in theaters on November 17 and will debut on Netflix December 1. Check out the trailer below.
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