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Overall Rating
4.33

Awesome58.97%
Worth A Look: 23.93%
Just Average: 11.97%
Pretty Crappy: 1.71%
Sucks: 3.42%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings


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May
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by Natasha Theobald

"Grotesque, yet oddly poetic."
4 stars

I am not a horror movie person, but, luckily, this doesn't seem like a typical horror movie. (Of course, how would I know?) I did watch small bits through a large space in my fingers, but it wasn't soooo much scarier than, for example, one of the creepier "X-Files" or the odd night of the evening news. This movie defies genre, in fact, to tell a disturbing, compelling, and, ultimately, poignant story of a young woman who has spent too much of her life feeling alone. May might terrify you, but it is only because it is so easy to recognize her humanity and sympathize with her wounds, suffered at the hands of a coarse and uncaring world. Her actions are indefensible, but the scary part is that the events which lead to them are not terribly uncommon.

May (Angela Bettis) has always looked in from the outside, standing not so steadily on the fringes, wishing only to be seen for the beautiful, if fragile, person that she is. From her days as a young girl forced to wear an eye patch to correct an impairment, May has stood apart, compliantly, from the crowd. Her mother, in a brief moment of recognition, offers her daughter a friend, a handmade doll housed behind glass. Once again, May is kept apart. Her love and care is accepted at a suitable, if reluctant, distance.

From her external vantage point, May naively sees only the beauty and perfection of things and, more dangerously, people. She has never gotten close enough to anyone to note the imperfections. She rehearses perfect responses to the seemingly flawless characters who people her version of the world, in the hope of one day approaching them, of being close not only in proximity, but in actuality. She spies the object of this desire made flesh in a man named Adam (Jeremy Sisto) and dares to approach him. She is alternately awkward and seductive, slowly drawing him into her odd yet approachable realm. She's weird, but he likes weird. He enjoys, to some degree, her gory stories about botched surgeries at the animal hospital where she works. She enjoys his cannibalistic sex film, perhaps a little too much. They seem to connect, if only briefly, before things turn out differently than she might have hoped.

May finds solace in the arms of a co-worker, Polly (Anna Faris), but, once again, her expectations exceed the reality of the situation. She offers herself only to feel rejected again, and she begins to doubt the worldview to which she has desperately clung with such hope and despair. She briefly finds a place in the world volunteering with blind children, but even the connection she makes with a young girl named Petey (Rachel David) isn't enough to fill whatever gaping hole is at her center. As her life begins to unravel, May becomes increasingly distressed. It is only when she decides to make the world what she wishes it to be that she finds the strength and purpose to go on.

Writer-director Lucky McKee has created a boldly unique character and a gripping, sometimes heart-wrenching, story. It is alterately beautiful and gruesome, overwhelmingly sad and darkly wry. With the help of great acting by all involved and some spectacular visual moments, this movie is all it is striving to be, if not more. Even the bloodiest stuff is artfully drawn. May strikes an emotional chord for the outsider in all of us and forces us to see something, and someone, when it is more comfortable to just look away. She seems to embody a delicate, childlike innocence that most of us lose growing up in the world. As the world did not choose to embrace her, May is ultimately without the benefit of the minor tragedies that tend to toughen the skin. She is open and freely giving of even her most secret self. So, when the world deals with it roughly, she can take it for only so long.

Angela Bettis creates in May a complicated and deeply moving presence. The character is not easily categorized, so it is difficult, similarly, to confine the performance to a simple descriptive word or a recounted standout moment. Perhaps it is enough to leave said all I have about the character and let the assumption, correctly, remain that every small thing I observed about May was in the performance.

Equally deserving of praise, the supporting performances lend a realism and edge to the world May doesn't necessarily recognize. The distinction is grounded in the lives and activities of the characters played by Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris. We are partly drawn to May, because they are drawn to her. It is through their eyes that we see what makes her special and what makes her different. In addition, the chemistry that each has with Bettis is interesting, from the sexual tension of the retractable knife to the open office flirtation. This movie forces you to feel something, whether for or against it. I doubt anyone exits unscathed, at least in some respect. And, that, in my mind, might be a good thing.

The movie requires some patience and thoughtfulness. Yes, it is disturbing, but I challenge you to see it anyway. It isn't often that the same movie can surprise you and disgust you, make you laugh or want to weep. And, if it makes you see someone you might otherwise pass without a second glance, perhaps that wouldn't be such a bad result.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5750&reviewer=317
originally posted: 06/23/03 15:50:33
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf One of the best movies I have ever seen! 5 stars
8/19/10 PAUL SHORTT SORDID CHILLER 1 stars
8/17/09 Tony So. incredibly. good. creepiest movie ive seen in a while. 5 stars
3/16/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess uite possibly 5 stars
2/02/09 Lee "Actually, I kinda liked it, Do me again" 5 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner The storyline is well made! 5 stars
5/19/08 BJ Love this unique movie. Had to own it. 5 stars
5/18/08 Ambrosia Angela Bettis, te amo!!! Come here! 5 stars
5/10/08 mr.mike Effective , however I thought "Romeo" was better 4 stars
6/20/07 Spook one of the best independent films ever! 5 stars
5/23/07 Ted R Brilliant....twisted.....haunting 5 stars
5/08/07 Andy B who would not like this movie? 5 stars
5/05/07 gen sad and intriguing. the character study on this is really good 5 stars
4/17/07 Kyle_S i just saw this movie, and it was really different...in a good way 5 stars
4/11/07 sara it was funny and tragic and the actors were great 5 stars
3/26/07 fools♫goldÖ Scared if being scared 5 stars
3/17/07 Siren angela bettis is great in this movie! 5 stars
3/06/07 Succubus_Incubus The best movie ever made! Yeah. 5 stars
12/14/06 T. McGregor A quirky, character driven horror movie with a nasty, sad ending. Long live May! 5 stars
11/14/06 Morbidica A great horror story, with a tragic end and lusty twists 5 stars
11/12/06 Dark Enchantress Beautifully grotesque! 5 stars
11/09/06 Jason great director, great plot, totally unique! 5 stars
11/09/06 DarkEnchantress My fav. movie...disturbing...how i love them! 5 stars
10/21/06 AJ Muller Angela Bettis is something special; so is the flick-sad/funny/creepy, an eye-opening winner 5 stars
10/09/06 Pritchett Complete garbage. I question the sanity of those who call it a masterpiece. Please... 1 stars
7/01/06 Jambi Truly one of the stupidest and most pointless movies I've ever seen. A total eye-roller. 1 stars
5/17/06 Cherita Black It is a masterpiece!!!! I've been wainting for something like it forever! It's my favorite. 5 stars
8/16/05 bujene everyone should watch it carefully there are important messages 4 stars
12/04/04 K. Sear A brave attempt but it fell short. Not terrible but could be beter. 3 stars
11/14/04 psycho black dwarf where others settle for Photoshop-doctored pictures, May needs the real thing. 4 stars
11/07/04 jack an unrealistic film with a good ending 3 stars
10/24/04 Me A great film 5 stars
8/27/04 whatevr pygmolean meets frankenstein 4 stars
7/25/04 Find The Keys For a horror flick, this is quite good (I must admit)...for a horror flick (that is). 3 stars
7/07/04 Denise Duspiva odd 3 stars
5/13/04 mark louis baumgart The last third is pretty good, but, man, it takes frigging FOREVER to get there. 3 stars
5/02/04 Me A great film 5 stars
4/25/04 Denise Duspiva Avante Garde 4 stars
4/16/04 Michael Greenwaldt MAY is A-MAY-ZING! Smart, touching, and wonderfully weird! Bettis & Faris are GREAT! 5 stars
3/29/04 Kristen Ankiewicz Unbelievably great performances 5 stars
3/19/04 true review weird in a cool way, good lead performance, tongue in cheek gore, Amelie if she were insane 4 stars
12/09/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/01/03 malcolm hard for me to recommend but i couldnt turn away.if u liked 'may' see polanski's 'repulsion 3 stars
11/26/03 he A GREAT FILM 5 stars
10/19/03 Jim Sad tale of lonely misfit. Had no idea Anna Faris was that hot, either. 5 stars
10/17/03 Jon An instant cult classic. Not for all tastes, but those who'll love it will REALLY love it! 5 stars
10/09/03 Erik Van Sant Disturbing and disgustingly hilarious. McKee...welcome to the genre. 5 stars
10/05/03 sneaker Whoever directed this should go back to shooting commercials. Please. 2 stars
9/30/03 Redpajammas a great film 5 stars
9/22/03 Alice It was not all that to me, expected more 3 stars
9/14/03 Alton Robertson Worth seeing for the ending alone. Superb creepy salted with black comedy. 4 stars
8/31/03 Connie Theil A poignant, touching tale of about the loneliness and madness of a young girl. 5 stars
8/29/03 Albie Great strange erotic scene with Bettis and Faris 4 stars
8/22/03 nr great 5 stars
8/01/03 grimthall the black this movie sucks 2 stars
7/16/03 Mike May is an extremely disturbing movie in all the right ways. A true thriller. A great movie. 5 stars
7/15/03 Kyle Incredible. Damn, I wish I saw this in theaters. Lucky McKee is destined for great things. 5 stars
7/14/03 Ellen Willis Is a perfect film from the unhappy girls than became to found a love finally. 5 stars
6/29/03 Jay didnt like 1 stars
6/28/03 Chicago Wolf The Best Movie of the Year. Bettis is great and Anna Faris is unbelievable. 5 stars
6/09/03 george schmidt A truly creepy/funny horror flick a la "Carrie" and then some 5 stars
6/09/03 Caiphn Angelis Bettis is a great actress. Creepy flick! 4 stars
5/30/03 Jon Leroux Wow. I'm not sure whether I should cry like crazy or scream in absolute horror. 5 stars
2/21/03 Lynz incredibly funny, i couldn't stop giggling, good girl/girl action 3 stars
2/21/03 Darren Shea Creepy, creepy film. Angela Bettis is phenomenal. 5 stars
2/15/03 bob twisted, indeed 5 stars
12/06/02 BAM great 5 stars
11/12/02 Andrew Carden It's Creepy How Perfect This Film Is. Just Plain Old Fun. 5 stars
7/11/02 Chris My new favorite flick 5 stars
7/09/02 cerise A truly unforgettable movie watching experience.you must see it for yourself to appreciate 5 stars
7/01/02 Burn Matthews great movie..fucking awsome..greatest lines ive heard in a while.. 5 stars
5/28/02 neonjazz I like it very much! Creepy yet absolutely enjoyable! 5 stars
5/11/02 Andrew Duncan gREAT! Fun, gruesome and sort of touching. Great Music, too! 5 stars
4/29/02 JBrown Beautifully Twisted!!! 5 stars
4/21/02 Kevin May is a cleverly written, touching story that will fill you with laughs and gasps. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Jun-2003 (R)
  DVD: 17-Aug-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Lucky McKee

Written by
  Lucky McKee

Cast
  Angela Bettis
  Jeremy Sisto
  Anna Faris
  Merle Kennedy
  Will Estes
  Mike McKee



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