May (film)

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May
May.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lucky McKee
Produced by Marius Balchunas
Scott Sturgeon
Written by Lucky McKee
Starring Angela Bettis
Jeremy Sisto
Anna Faris
James Duval
Music by Jaye Barnes Luckett
Cinematography Steven Y. Yedlin
Edited by Debra Goldfield
Rian Johnson
Production
company
2 Loop Films
Distributed by Lions Gate Films
Release dates
  • January 13, 2002 (2002-01-13) (Sundance)
  • February 7, 2003 (2003-02-07) (United States)
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $500,000
Box office $150,277[1]

May is a 2002 American horror film written and directed by Lucky McKee[2] in his directorial debut. Starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, and James Duval, the film follows a lonely young woman (Bettis) traumatized by a difficult childhood, and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her.

Plot[edit]

May Dove Canady is an awkward, lonely young woman, who suffered a troubled childhood due to her lazy eye. She has very few social interactions, her only "true friend" being a glass-encased doll named Suzie made by her mother and given to May for her birthday with the adage "If you can't find a friend, make one." May works at a veterinary hospital, assisting with surgeries. Her optometrist fixes May's lazy eye, first with glasses, then with a special form of contact lens. As May attempts to be more social, she becomes friends with Adam, a local mechanic. She has a fixation on his hands, which she considers to be the most attractive part of him, and they start dating. Meanwhile, May's lesbian colleague Polly begins to flirt with May. One day while feeling especially low, May remarks that Polly has a beautiful neck. They become friends and Polly gives her pet cat Lupe to May, ostensibly because of her "bitch" landlord.

One night May invites Adam to her apartment. Adam shows her a film he made for his university titled Jack and Jill. The film reveals a story of two young lovers who go on a picnic and end up eating each other. May becomes aroused by the cannibalism in the film and, during an intense make-out session, bites Adam on the lip. Bleeding profusely, Adam is finally disturbed by May's strange personality and leaves. She shouts at Suzie and shoves her in the cupboard.

May begins volunteering at a school for disabled children. May finally gives in to Polly's wiles and starts a short affair; Adam stops calling her and May goes to his house, where she overhears him say that he's glad he could get rid of May. Heartbroken, May goes to see Polly, only to find Polly with another girl named Ambrosia. Totally miserable, May returns home. When Lupe refuses to come near her, she becomes enraged and throws a clay ashtray at her, killing her. May becomes delusional, thinking that her doll Suzie is talking to her through its glass case.

May takes Suzie to school and tells the blind children that Suzie is her best friend. As the children struggle to take the doll out of the glass case, it falls and shatters, with May and the kids cutting themselves in the process. Carrying the now-destroyed, blood-covered Suzie, May returns home, devastated.

The following day, May meets a punk boy (identified in the credits as "Blank") while waiting for the bus. He asks her if she wants to get some Jam Jelly beans with her and she solemnly agrees, taking him to her house. May doesn't like him, but likes the tattoo on his arm. When he opens the freezer to get ice, he finds the cat's corpse wrapped in plastic wrap. He is shocked and in disgust calls May a freak, infuriating her; she stabs him in the head with a pair of scissors.

On Halloween night, May dresses in a homemade costume resembling Suzie and goes to Polly's house. She slits Polly's throat with scalpels from the animal hospital. When Ambrosia arrives, May admires her legs and stabs Ambrosia in the sides of the head with the scalpels. When May goes to Adam's house, she finds him with a new girlfriend. May stabs them both.

At home, May designs her "new friend", Amy, a Frankenstein-esque life-sized rag doll made from Blank's arms, Polly's neck, Adam's hands, Ambrosia's legs, Hoop's ears, and Lupe's fur to substitute for hair. The head and torso are different scraps of fabric stitched together and stuffed. Once the macabre doll is finished, May realizes that Amy can't see her. In a rush of misery, May gouges out her right eye, the lazy one, with the scissors. Crying in pain and bleeding, she puts her eye on Amy's head and begs the doll to look at her. She collapses beside the doll on the bed caressing it. A few moments later, her creation comes to life and brushes her face affectionately with Adam's hands.

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

May also features a score and original songs by Jaye Barnes Luckett of the rock group Poperratic (then known as Alien Tempo Experiment 13).

Additional artists on the soundtrack include The Breeders, The Kelley Deal 6000, H Is Orange, Strangels, Thrill My Wife, The Wedding's Off, Angelo Metz, and Tommy James and the Shondells.

Some of Luckett's music from the film was released on the 2007 CD May and Other Selected Works of Jaye Barnes Luckett by La-La Land Records.

Release[edit]

May was given a limited theatrical release to nine theaters in North America. By the end of its run, the film has grossed $150,277 during its theatrical run.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 69% of 64 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.2 out of 10.[3] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 58 based on 18 reviews. [4]

Critics praised the film for its unique feel while also complimenting its brutality through the eyes of someone who is so caught up in their own fantasy of sorts. Bettis performance was also praised.Roger Ebert granted the film four stars out of four, and called it "a horror film and something more and deeper, something disturbing and oddly moving" and characterized the denouement as "a final shot that would get laughs in another kind of film, but May earns the right to it, and it works, and we understand it".[5] Variety magazine critic David Rooney turned in a review that was more middle of the road, stating that the film was "More successful when the title character finally embarks on her bloody mission than in the dawdling buildup".[6] The New York Times critic Stephen Holden opined that "the performances are a cut or two above what you would find in the average slasher film. But in the end that's all it is".[7]

In 2006, the Chicago Film Critics Association named May the 61st scariest film ever made.[8]

Bloody Disgusting ranked the film #17 in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article calling the film "criminally under-seen at the time of its release... The plotting itself manages to sidestep the usual slasher tropes as it slowly and inexorably unravels, all leading up to a quietly haunting conclusion that is as heart-wrenching as it is unnerving."[9]

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "May (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ 00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...
  3. ^ "May (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ "May Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 6, 2003). "May ::rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  6. ^ Rooney, David (June 15, 2002). "May Review". Variety. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ Holden, Stephen (June 6, 2003). "Movie Review - May". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ Filmspotting.net
  9. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 4". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 

External links[edit]