Is ‘May December’ the Most Fun Film at Cannes?

At the premiere at the Cannes Film FestivalMay DecemberSomething happened in the opening minutes this week that put director Todd Haynes at ease. It’s the end of the film’s second scene, where Gracie (Julianne Moore) prepares for her family’s barbecue, which is also attended by famous actress Elizabeth (Natalie Portman), who is preparing to play Gracie in the film. It happened while I was

Haynes zooms in on Moore and plays dramatic music as Gracie walks across the kitchen and opens the refrigerator. Viewers are on high alert. Something serious is about to happen. Instead, Moore calmly tells everyone, “I don’t think there’s enough hot dogs.” And the crowd at Cannes burst into laughter.

That’s exactly the reaction Haynes was hoping for. Many viewers will read “May December” in a simplistic way, but the subject matter is so compelling that Haynes rather welcomes her playful interpretation.

“It’s encouraging that the audience feels empowered to enjoy the film,” he tells me over coffee.

Haynes may be understating things. ‘May December’ is the funniest movie showing at Cannes this year. acclaimed entertainment Since its premiere, the festival-goers have been quoting this phrase incessantly. Gracie is loosely modeled after Mary Kay LeTourneau, a teacher who was convicted in 1997 of raping her sixth-grade student Willi Fualaau, so there is an undertone of tabloid scandal. . She gave birth to her baby in prison and later got married. Gracie and her husband Joe (Charles Melton) have a similar backstory, but they were married for many years when Elizabeth took a week-long trip to their home in Savannah, Georgia. showed her a picture-perfect image of his family’s home. bliss.

Yet the strength of their bond was premised on not truly rethinking their origins, and their marriage came under siege when Elizabeth pecked, poked, and asked intrusive questions. you can see that it is in a state Gracie will do whatever it takes to keep her family together, but Elizabeth is equally determined to break the surface, and as the two women face each other in a series of shocking encounters, they’re forced to do whatever it takes to keep them together. The self-interest that motivates is often so greedy that you can’t help but laugh.

“When I was making the cut, just reading and filming the movie felt like it was more interesting than I thought,” Haynes said. “We didn’t play this song for laughs. It’s just a sarcastic wit.”

Does Haynes agree with critics who call the film creepy? “That’s never been a term I applied to the script or the shooting style,” he said, but he understood why writers wanted to use that term. reading things. Sometimes we are encouraged to read something in the light of itself. And it’s exactly what I wanted, especially with a sense of joy and entertainment. “

In the festival’s biggest bidding war, Netflix wins at an $11 million price tag, and Elizabeth’s all-out dishonesty should portend a major awards campaign to a compelling Portman.

“She was so energized and mischievously excited to play with the expectations people would bring to the film,” Haynes said. “At first, you’d think Elizabeth would be easy to get into this sordid backstory. But then you’d start to seriously reassess who she was, and start feeling like she wasn’t a credible narrator. .”

The film could also be an awards breakthrough moment for Melton. Melton’s Joe comes to the fore in the final act, a poignant examination of the trajectory of his life as the boy at the center of a tabloid scandal. “We were very fortunate to have found him for this piece,” Haynes said of the actor who was formerly best known for “Riverdale.” (The pipeline from The CW to Cannes became a reality between Melton and “Elvis” star Austin Butler (who broke on the Croisette last year).)

Haynes, the mission of “May December” and “carol“”far away from heavenand Safe (the latter two also starring Moore), each of which he has hailed as a distraction from the other. “To live it all out, you have to filter it a little bit. Looking back at my entire creative life and history makes me feel dizzy,” he said. “Otherwise, tears would have flowed.”

This retrospective will soon end with the screening of “May December,” and I think it’s fitting. It’s the most mainstream film Haynes has ever made, but it’s still packed with layers of themes, and Haynes welcomes any interpretation you have. Serious or funny?

“If your thought process runs parallel to watching a movie, that’s great,” he says.

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