Spoiler alert! This article contains important details about the ending of “May December” (now streaming on Netflix).
Unraveling the complexity of human nature lies at the heart of “May December,” the darkly comic and emotionally shattering new film by director Todd Haynes (“Carol”) and first-time screenwriter Samy Burch. One main question haunts the characters in the story – is it truly possible to fully understand someone’s real motivations?
In the movie, actress Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman) shadow’s Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) to prepare for a role as her in an upcoming movie. Playing a character who was convicted of seducing and raping a minor in her past, Elizabeth is on a quest to fathom who Gracie really is. As their kids graduate high school, Joe (Charles Melton), the victim of the scandalous relationship, starts to grapple with his trauma. Through their experiences, they grapple with understanding each other’s true selves.
USA TODAY spoke to Portman and Moore about the film’s dramatic ending and its compelling monologue. Portman, in particular, praised the writing and the emotional resonance of the monologue, calling it “such a gift for an actress.” The scene brought to the forefront a side of Gracie that remains unknowable, adding complexity to her character.
However, it was the ending that left a lasting impression on viewers. The audience was left yearning for a resolution as the characters questioned their understanding of each other. The most salient point of the film, Moore believed, was recognizing the inscrutable nature of human beings. It was “an inhale, rather than an exhale” kind of ending, she observed.
On the other hand, awards buzz has been building around “May December.” Melton, in particular, has stunned audiences with his performance, positioning himself as an early Oscar contender for best supporting actor. Haynes praised Melton’s raw, sensitive portrayal of Joe and commented on his remarkable interpretation of the character that set him apart from the other actors.
As the credits rolled, viewers were left pondering the powerful moments and unanswered questions, making “May December” a captivating and thought-provoking film.