starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, Charles Melton
screenplay by Samy Burch
directed by Todd Haynes
by Angelo Muredda "You just don't know with these Hollywood types," Julianne Moore's wilted Southern belle Gracie says early in Todd Haynes's intricate hothouse melodrama, May December. She's referring, by way of a throwaway reference to a prior encounter with Judge Judy, to the impending visit at her idyllic Savannah, Georgia home by Elizabeth (Natalie Portman), a TV actress who's about to play her in a movie about the defining event of her life more than twenty years prior. Gracie is a tabloid celebrity, famous for her exploitative sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy, for which she served time in prison. Improbably, she's also a proud matriarch, having married and built a home with her victim, Joe (Charles Melton), who now finds himself an empty nester at the ripe age of 36, as the couple's twin children, born while she was in prison, prepare to go off to college. Loosely inspired by the story of sex offender Mary Kay Letourneau, who went on to marry and start a family with the victim of her abuse until their separation in 2019, May December isn't a work of true crime so much as a playful, sly, tonally restless exploration of Gracie's observation about the unknowability of Hollywood folks, which turns out to be broadly applicable to the unfathomable nature of everyone, including herself and her partner.