The international premiere of Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore’s “May December” by Todd Haynes delivered a delectable psychodrama to the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday. At the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Palais, the film’s audience gave it a 6-minute standing ovation for captivating them.
Natalie Portman’s relentless method of acting and prying for secrets as Julianne Moore, a TV star eager to boost her indie cred with a film role, pleased the black tie screening. Moore, a disintegrating town pariah who had her first child while incarcerated for statutory rape, garnered a lot of laughs for her outrage at a celebrity looking through her personal belongings.
The late-night screening served as the ideal counterbalance to the big premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which came before it, thanks to a breakout dramatic performance by “Riverdale” actor Charles Melton and a surprisingly excellent score that almost sounds like it belongs in a horror movie.
Portman plays Elizabeth in “May December,” an actor who travels to Savannah to research the lives of Joe (Melton) and Gracie (Moore)—due to their age difference and the fact that Gracie was Joe’s employer at a local pet store, Gracie and Joe’s scandalous cross-generational affair caused a global uproar years ago. Twenty years later, Elizabeth portrays Gracie in the scandal movie, but her entry causes friction in Gracie and Joe’s marriage.
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In a Variety head of Cannes interview, Melton called “May December” a “complex, compounded, voyeuristic experience of the human condition.” “We get a lens into our characters Joe and Gracie,” he continued. They’ve been in an unusual relationship for a long time, and Natalie’s character’s presence causes certain realizations.
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The Cannes Film Festival and Haynes go way back. With “Velvet Goldmine,” which won a medal for most significant artistic contribution, he made his festival debut in 1998. He later made another appearance with “Carol” (2015) and “Wonderstruck” (2017). After its Cannes premiere, “Carol” received a 10-minute standing ovation, and its lead Rooney Mara later won the festival’s award for best actress. Currently, “May December” is looking for distribution in the US.
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