May December - Review (London Film Festival 2023)
The Past Weighs On Me. 3.5 / 5
Directed by Todd Haynes.
Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, a married couple buckles under the pressure when an actress arrives to do research for a film about their past.
Natalie Portman is hired to play Julianne Moore's Gracie in the film of her life and begins to shadow and learn more about her life. But things quickly unravel as Gracie's past is revealed blurring the lines of moral grey areas in this fascinatingly entertaining deconstruction of a character.
Todd Haynes plays what on paper could be a dark and brooding drama with an unexpected extravagance, having fun with how far he can push this concept and bringing his characters along for the ride. Portman and Moore battle for the spotlight but it's Charles Melton who grabs the top spot as the unheard victim in the story of his own life.
Despite its melodramatic nature, it does balance the serious subject matter with respect as even behind the amusing scenes there is a silent tension building in the background. A welcomed surprise, May December is brave in its ambitions but is confident and distinct enough in its presentation to get away with it.