MovieHype00631 – MAY
Ideally, you want to go into a movie having zero preconceptions, uninfluenced by outside forces. However, with a movie like MAY, it’s virtually impossible.
I see the DVD cover at the video store; it tells me that MAY is like every other low-budget horror film I’ve ever seen; I have no reason to watch it.
Then Suzanne, the Blockbuster Wench, recommends MAY highly1. Now, this girl is pretty strange, but I always like it when an employee actually has the sack to recommend a movie (or entrée or whatever), especially when they are enthusiastic, and Suzanne’s enthusiasm is infectious. Now I’m more excited.
Then I go home and look at the back of the box, to see that Anna Faris2 and Jeremy Sisto are in the film. Faris I only know from SCARY MOVIE, so now I’m wondering if this is a spoof. And Sisto was that crazy brother from SIX FEET UNDER. I don’t know if it’s a product of how good he is at playing jerks or just his personality (remember Elton from CLUELESS?), but I hate Jeremy Sisto. Now I’m not wanting to watch it again.
Then I go online and see that Ebert himself gave the film four stars. I don’t always agree with the man but I do respect him. Ebert gave MAY four stars? Now I’m excited again.
Then my neighbor Heather borrows MAY, when I tell her it’s a horror film. She brings it back and I ask her how she likes it. “It was okay.” She says. “They didn’t really get to the killing for like an hour and fifteen minutes, so that was kind of disappointing.” Let the record reflect that the witness made the “stabby stabby”3 motion when uttering the word “killing.”
The point is, you always have some influences going into a movie, and with a small film like MAY it promises to be much worse. You (and by “you” I mean “you”) are not going to watch a film like MAY unless someone tells you about it, and you get excited.
So, with the understanding that preconceived notions are unavoidable, the question is, what should you take in with you, when watching a movie like MAY?
(I don’t really have anywhere to go with that; I just thought it was a neat opening.)
HYPERION’S RATING SYSTEM
Suspension of Disbelief: 9/0. On the one hand, these events could not happen. They’re not supernatural but….well, you’ll see. On the other hand, every emotion May (and the others) show us is bang on to real life.
Genre Grade: If this were straight Horror, I’d have to give it a B. It’s more of a hybrid, kind of a quirky gothy psychological horror film. A.
Sex/Violence: MAY is not a kids movie. That said, the target audience is 15-20 year old girls who feel left out of the world, different. I’m not sure you can stop them from seeing it. But there are inappropriate scenes for those younger. (Not just the killing, which is more funny but the time it happens than scary, but the teenage phenomenon known as “cutting,” and a spoof movie that youngsters wouldn’t understand.)
Will your mother/wife/sister like this? Chances are your sister might. If you know a girl who’s on one side or the other of twenty, and a bit “different,” whether that means black nails or a few too many tattoos, recommend MAY. The girl will love you for it.
Pantheon Percentile: It’s hard to know where to put a movie like MAY in the greater scheme of things. I see it is a cult classic that will garner respect in time, but this will never be a mainstream movie, which is a factor in rating films against each other for all time’s sake. 71.
MAY is virtually perfect at what it’s trying to do. The only problem is that I’m not sure how wide an audience MAY would speak to. That’s okay. Not everyone is made for every movie. My dad, for example, wouldn’t watch a movie like MAY if it meant an
Ostensibly MAY is a horror film, but quite a strange one. Like my neighbor said, there is very little killing, and that happens toward the end. No, MAY is much more of a character study.
I think one of the marks of a good movie is that it makes you want to be involved in what the main characters are involved in. When I saw SIDEWAYS, even though I don’t drink, I wished I had an advanced knowledge of wine and wine culture.
In a movie like MAY, well, I’m not ever going to be a strange teenage girl. (At least, not again.) Yet watching May go through her life, making choices, so shy and nervous, I felt like I was. I even called out to her several times. “No, May! You stay away from that awful Jeremy Sisto! He’s nothing but trouble!”
Sometimes it’s the little things. Sisto’s character smokes, so May wants to smoke too. Believe me; I’ve seen people do that. He gives her his package of cigarettes, to practice, and she’s so touched that she keeps it next to her skin, so she can touch it and feel his presence. I get that too.
When we first meet May, two things are readily apparent: she’s very innocent, very sweet and very weird girl. Second: things are NOT going to work out for her. Well, maybe they do, in her own way.
It’s weird to see a movie this good and not recommend it. You all know what a champion I am of great movies, and feel that any movie fan should watch the best stuff out there. However, MAY is an exception. There is truly a very small percentage of you who will get the sweet nature of this poor girl. Most of you will be creeped out, or at least think May is hella-weird.
Actually, all of you will think she’s weird. But some of you like weird, and to you I offer this gift: you won’t be sorry.
1 I told Suzanne that if MAY sucked I’d put it all on her, but if it was wonderful I’d give her credit. Well, I pay my debts. As I LOVED may, Suzanne gets all the credit.
2 Very few of you will care about this, but Anna Faris was given the “And” credit at the end. For those of you who knows what that means, did you ever think you’d see Anna Faris get the And Credit?
3 Isn’t “Stabby-Stabby” motion one of the coolest terms ever?