May December – REVIEW

May December – REVIEW
Image: Julianne Moore and Charles Melton in MAY DECEMBER. Image: film still

Loosely inspired by a true story, the fictional elements in this movie elevate the narrative, delivering a drama which is memorable and very compelling.

When a 13 year old boy gained employment in a pet shop run by a 36 year old woman it was the catalyst for one of the biggest tabloid stories in American history, the pet shop romance which also appeared on the front page of the New York Times. A forbidden sexual relationship developed between the two, resulting in a pregnancy.

Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman in MAY DECEMBER. Image: film still

She was charged with rape of a minor, convicted, and sent to prison. Strangely however the relationship continued once she was released, a happy marriage ensued with more children on the horizon.

What would make a mature 36 year old woman even think of having an affair with a 7th grader? She had no shame or guilt – no doubts or regrets. Was it true love or just a sick female paedophile grooming a young child?

Natalie Portman & Charles Melton in MAY DECEMBER. Image: Francois Duhamel: Netflix

They’ve officially been together for 24 years and the whole world still has a fascination about this couple and demand answers. An independent television movie about the story is announced and the actress (Natalie Portman) who will be playing the woman in question, Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) is spending time to research Gracie and her family situation for the role.

But will her research ultimately reveal cracks within the marriage? Will Joe Yoo (Charles Melton) come to the realization that perhaps he’s still a child mentally who had his childhood stolen by a domineering woman? Strangely, is a connection and sexual attraction slowly building between Joe and the actress?

May December is an exploration of the complexities of a very human story. Gracie is not portrayed as a perverted woman. The story is revealed and then it’s up to the audience to decide whether it’s the story of a woman with mental issues or just another example of how ‘love works in mysterious ways’.

Julianne Moore graces the screen with yet another memorable performance that deserves much accolade. She portrays the character as slightly dark and mysterious, yet with a touch of class and quirkiness.

A statement is also quietly made about the effect of tabloids on the masses. Is their purpose to make money by purposely ruining people’s reputations?

Ultimately this may be uncomfortable viewing and audiences can decide whether there’s more to this woman than what the tabloids were reporting.


In Cinemas February 1, 2024


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