Natalie Portman’s New Film, May December, Looks To Be An Oscar Contender

By Rufus Punt | 16th November 2023
may december

We’re definitely heading into awards season when it comes to the best stuff to watch in cinemas, with critically buzzed about films like Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, and The Bikeriders releasing in the next few weeks. Another project that looks set for a place in the Oscars race is May December, which debuted at Cannes earlier this year, and stars both Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore.

Out in cinemas this Friday 17th November, it centres around an actress (Portman) who meets with the woman (Moore) who she’s preparing to play in a new film.

What is May December about?

May December comes from director Todd Haynes, whose most notable work so far has included the Cate Blanchett starring romance Carol, and Kate Winslet’s acclaimed HBO series, Mildred Pierce.

Portman’s character is Elizabeth Berry, a seasoned actress who digs deep into her roles to embody the person she’s portraying- so when she’s cast to play former media sensation Gracie Atherton-Yoo, heads to Georgia to meet her in person. Gracie (Moore) has been married for several years to a much younger man, and she and her husband’s lives have already attracted a lot of tabloid press publicity.

Some two decades after their scandalous romance and later wedding gained the attention of eager journalists, their marriage is only somewhat stable. Elizabeth’s arrival threatens to wreck it altogether.

May December

What else do we know?

We find out quickly that Gracie was a married 36-year-old when she began a romance with Joe (Riverdale’s Charles Melton) when he was just 13. She ended up being jailed for a brief time and remained a registered sex offender, while she and Joe stayed together. When their family finds that Gracie’s life will be told in an arthouse film, they’re excited and open to being interviewed and observed by Elizabeth.

The film has a slightly meta feel as the actress starts to get into character around Gracie and her family- but is her increasingly accurate and sensitive performance too real? As she and the family become closer, the still volatile relationship dynamics between Gracie, Joe and their teen children begin to show signs of cracking.

May December

Who else stars and when does it release?

May December also stars D.W Moffett (How to Get Away with Murder), Piper Curda (The Wretched), Elizabeth Yu (Somewhere in Queens) and Cory Michael Smith (Call Jane). Netflix, who’s releasing the film on both streaming and in cinemas, released a trailer which gives us a glimpse of what to expect, beginning with Elizabeth saying she most enjoys playing characters that are “on the surface, difficult to understand.”

The film is set to arrive on 17th November in cinemas, and on Netflix to stream on 1st December.

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