“May December” directed by Todd Haynes with Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, Charles Melton

“May December” is a film of rare richness and complexity, reinforced by Todd Haynes’ ability to keep his perspective ambiguous on everything he shows us.

“May December” has at least two movies, and there are many more ways to understand each of them, aspects of this captivating story. Todd Haynes’s first great achievement is this articulation between two stories, two completely different worlds. And along the way, slowly, the film moves towards the third issue, or rather the third person, creating a hollow portrait. Rarely has a narrative ballet been so well-conducted, against a backdrop of intoxicating music – a successful version of the “Messenger” theme originally composed by Michel Legrand – and saturated, phosphogenic light, evoking the distinctive damp atmosphere of the Savanna. Forts, a city where the film is set. All this is as mysterious as it is beautiful. Once again, Haynes proves that he is a demanding formalist and a virtuoso director.

The plot, first of all. Through the eyes of actress Elizabeth, played by Natalie Portman, we discover the daily life of Gracie Atherton-Yu, a controlling woman about whom we gradually realize the circumstances under which she manages. The extent is small and delicate, on the face of it, the main thing is for Elizabeth to succeed in making criminal relationships a major life choice at the age at which she has to play it on screen. Julianne Moore brilliantly interprets this complex role of woman-child in a way that is reminiscent of Leia Drucker the last summer, Both delicate and carnivorous, there is constant danger of collapse. While she literally takes up all the space, at least in the couple, Todd Haynes, without losing interest in her, subtly focuses on Joe’s character, silent and enigmatic, inhibited and dependent, trapped in a controlling world that Surpasses him but whom he knows how to show, with constant empathy, signs of emerging liberation. By examining his character objectively and poignantly, whether in brief scenes with his father or with his son, but especially in one of the most terrifying duet scenes ever seen, he conveys this “disillusionment”. Shows what he has to face. , and which causes him to realize how far he finds himself, to use one of Haynes’ previous works, “Far From Heaven”. In its description of this relationship, the abuse of power as well as the possible rebalancing of forces involved, the film is quite interesting.

But there is another level of description, and it is this level that gives the film all its ambiguity. This second level is the way in which the Hollywood actress, having researched her character so thoroughly that it becomes both fascinating and uncomfortable, enters into the intimacy of the couple, confronting Gracie with her vision. All this for the sake of – necessarily failing – consent, and offering Joe, in a behavior that could be construed as manipulative as altruistic, the possibility of entering adulthood. Portman embodies all the contradictions at once girl next door And being condescending to a province that is probably very bad in her eyes, and whose perfectionist and highly intellectual approach she loves to enforce, will prove, in a strange end, to be very futile. In our opinion, this is what reflects the originality of the film, this constant confusion that it creates in the audience, combining what he sees with what he feels and then what he thinks. ‘He must feel.’

What if the film was above all an allegory for the way cinema knows how to capture the most complex stories, chaotically distorting reality after lining its pockets? Haynes suggests just that, having fun filling his film with heavy animal symbolism – and not just in the epilogue – and offering his two actresses glorious as well as disgusting roles. Moving from the pasty idealization of this TV series couple to the bizarre and disturbing excesses of rival actress pairings, concluding with the vulgarity of an obscene soft porn, Haynes reflects a collective failure to represent the abuse of a minor as it actually is. Is in. Is.

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