#287 -- May (2002)

Director: Lucky McKee
Rating: 3.5 / 5

Let's get one thing straight, first and foremost: May is not a movie for everyone. It's sad, disturbing, uncomfortable, and might leave some people feeling...strange. Whether you love it or hate it, one thing is for sure: you've never seen anything else like it.

It is a modern day Frankenstein story, centered around a young May Canady. Even as a child, she had a lot of trouble making friends, due to a lazy eye and a pirate patch. Realizing that her daughter may never make any friends, her mother gave her a doll named Suzy, and she told her, "If you can't find a friend, make one." May grew up with Suzy still as her best and only friend. She spent her days working at a veterinary hospital, talking to Suzy and sewing clothes. To call her socially awkward would be an understatement. It gets to the point where you're forced to wonder if May has ever actually been outside her apartment before. She has absolutely no idea how to act around people, and she is so awkward, in fact, that it's hard to watch at times. You don't know whether to feel sorry for her, feel embarrassed for her, or just be annoyed by her. At first it seems like she's just a lonely woman in need of a friend, but as the movie goes on, it becomes apparent that her issues run much deeper than that. When May gets contacts to help with her lazy eye, she gains the confidence to talk to Adam, a mechanic she had been watching for some time. At one point, she even followed him to a coffee shop, waited until he fell asleep across his magazine, and started rubbing his hands on her face. When he woke up and saw her, instead of calling the police or running away, he felt compelled by her. They started up a very awkward relationship that left me wondering exactly why he even liked her at all. He said that he liked weird, but once he realized just how weird she was, he did what any person would do: he ran away.

After having her heart broken by Adam, she develops somewhat of a crush on her co-worker, Polly. Polly showed her some affection, told her she was beautiful, and made her feel somewhat of a connection. I don't think May was a lesbian, or even bisexual. I think she was just so desperate for human contact, and to have some sort of relationship with someone, that gender didn't matter. But when Polly started up a relationship with another woman, May's mind began to unravel even more. She took her mother's old words to heart, and decided that, since she couldn't find a good friend, she would just make one--out of all the body parts that she liked from different people.

Some parts are kind of gruesome, like when May killed her cat with a ceramic ashtray and then kept it in the freezer, and when she was cutting up all the body parts to make her new "friend." Again, it's not a movie for everyone, but I think a lot of people will enjoy it. It really is a sad story about a lonely, desperate woman going to extreme measures to fill a void in her life. What's really sad is that there were people in her life who cared for her, and tried to be kind to her; but her mind and heart were so fragile that the slightest little thing would turn her against them. What I find interesting is that, one May stopped trying to make friends, and had decided to just kill them, she stopped being awkward altogether. She exhibited a kind of confidence that we had not seen from her before. The story of May is definitely an interesting and unique one, but its main problem lies in its pacing. It takes a long time for any real action to take place. I feel that this was so that we could get a good look into May's twisted psyche, but it may distract some people. Though it is slow, it does have some definite good qualities to look out for. The movie is a sort of mix between drama, romance, and horror. The actors do a wonderful job in their roles - the awkward role of May is played by Angela Bettis; Adam is played by Jeremy Sisto; and Polly, May's almost lesbian lover, is played by Ana Faris. There are definitely some good folks at work here, in front of and behind the camera. It is an independent film, with a small budget, and the crew did a wonderful job. The cinematography is great, with some effects that are both beautiful and sinister. But with "master of horror" Lucky McKee in the director's chair, all of this is to be expected.

Once again, it's not for everyone. But if you're brave enough, definitely give May a go.

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