Director Todd Haynes (Carol; Safe; Far From Heaven) is the master of the post-modern melodrama. Here he turns a tacky tabloid tale about a thirtysomething wife and mother who seduced a seventh grade student and eventually (after a short stint in prison) married him into a teasingly deceptive drama about identity, desire, and codependency. Twenty years after the scandal, TV star Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) comes to visit Gracie (Julianne Moore) in her middle class Savannah home in preparation for a movie version. Gracie figures that affording her access will result in a more sympathetic portrayal. But Elizabeth’s presence stirs up turmoil in her marriage and beyond…
May December isn’t campy but it does hit on a sticky kind of sweet and sour comedy of manners in Gracie’s need to keep up appearances, even as her neighbours (still!) send her packages of poop in the mail to signal their disgust. Elizabeth’s close scrutiny of her behaviour, psychology, and lifestyle is supposedly neutral, in the service of her art, but inevitably there’s an element of exploitation involved, not to say a vicarious thrill as she flirts with Gracie’s mild-mannered husband (Charles Melton). There’s a lot going on here, and a trio of exceptionally studied, nuanced performances from Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton. The score, incidentally, is by Michel Legrand, repurposed from Joseph Losey’s 1971 film, The Go Between.
Haynes has done something spellbinding here: heady, grown-up and committed to a refreshing dose of moral ambiguity at a time in cinema where moral pandering sadly seems to be the default.
Tomris Laffly, The Wrap
A teasing, ticklish, fascinatingly layered study of our defined identities and the isolation that comes with them.
Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
A virtuoso at tonal precision, Haynes has here made a film that might seem comic to one, irretrievably tragic to another, possibly within the same scene, line reading, or surprising camera gesture… Haynes is doing something extraordinarily delicate and difficult in May December, reminding viewers—with the lightest of touches—that we’re all implicated and indulgent in the processes of social, cultural, and sexual exploitation that define the modern consciousness.
Michael Koresky, Reverse Shot
Bradley Cooper's second film as director is a symphonic portrait of the composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, with Cooper in the title role and Carey Mulligan as his wife, actress Felicia Montealegre. One of the films of the year.
The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan
D'Artagnan arrives in Paris trying to find his attackers after being left for dead, which leads him to a real war where the future of France is at stake. He aligns himself with Athos, Porthos and Aramis, three musketeers of the King.
The Wind Rises
Miyazaki's first "retirement" film is inspired by the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a young man much like the filmmaker, who grew up to be a designer and engineer, and who is best known for the "Zero" fighter plane, a masterpiece of aerodynamics.
Arthur Erickson's Dyde House
Nestled among the aspen parkland of Alberta, a hidden masterpiece by one of Canada's most celebrated architects has been found. Arthur Erickson’s Dyde House tells the story of an undiscovered piece of history and the architects fighting for its future.