Classic Review – May (2002)

May movie 2002

Angela Bettis is May

May

Directed by Lucky McKee

Starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris

Review by Jordan

“See me. See me. See me…”

Hindsight indicates that there is little reason to feel such close affiliation with May, a character who constantly outplays others who identify themselves as “weird” in her desire to find the perfect friend. A lazy eye forced her into wearing an eye patch as a child, and that physical quirk combined with an apparently unhinged mother has resulted in a social manner that sees her more comfortable divulging the gruesome horror stories of veterinary surgery gone wrong, than enjoying a casual encounter at a Laundromat with a man with the hands of her dreams.

Following him into a café, and watching him fall asleep before cradling her face in his open palm culminates in an awkward/sweet moment when Adam wakes up to finally notice her, with this combination of adjectives best describing May, at least up until her frustration with the imperfections of the “whole” people around her culminates in her brainwave that if you can’t find the perfect friend, make one.

Lucky McKee’s first feature film as director (excluding his and Chris Sivertsons first crack at All Cheerleaders Die), is one of the most beloved horror films of its decade; blending a characterisation of loneliness and personality disorder with an intuitive plot, filled with little moments and references lovingly brought to life. It is interesting that Dario Argento’s Trauma is chosen as the movie playing at the art-house cinema, as, being the Italian maestro’s first American endeavour, it is a strange, ugly-duckling entry in his catalogue that doesn’t quite fit in, even among his other unhinged classics.  I’m sure that May can relate. She wants only to be noticed and to be held; comforted by someone other than her childhood doll encased in a fracturing glass cage.

As May, Angela Bettis shines. She is McKee’s muse and harnesses the frailty of her character to justify her extremities. A severe opening shot leaves no doubt as to where her misplaced desire will lead her, and her personality is so unique and unfiltered, and is exposed to such an extent that the expected culmination of the rejection she suffers is focused on only as much as her present state. In 2006, Bettis directed an indirect follow-up Roman, in which McKee plays the titular character whose desperation also leads down a dark path, and the two would later work together on 2011’s The Woman; their partnership a clear example of shared creativity and a coming-together of artistic minds.

Crafted fully with the precision of a scalpel and the energy of the short film that May finds sweet (despite finding the ease in which someone’s finger is bitten off a little farfetched), this is a must-see for fans of independent cinema; an original and shocking tale worthy of its intriguing namesake.

5 three legged dogs out of 5

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8 responses to “Classic Review – May (2002)

  1. I feel like I need to give this film another shot. I don’t remember being particularly impressed with it years ago but really liked ‘The Woman’ more recently.

    • They’re very different I suppose, but looking back at May I find it very interesting to see all of McKee’s ideas coming to light for the first time. Revisit it for sure.
      Jordan

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