Lions Gate is about to bring you another promising flick, by freshman writer and director Lucky McKee. His first film, entitled May, has been floating around festivals from Sundance to the Gerardmer Film Festival in France for over a year now and is finally coming to video here in the US on July 15th, thanks to Lions Gate. What you are in for is quite a treat.
I have to drop this quick warning, there are definitely some spoilers in this review, so if you dont want to read them, please exit out of here. I find this film review would be incomplete without any spoilers, but at the same time, I don’t think knowing some of the things I am going to tell you will ruin the movie any, because the experience itself is everything.
May is a wild journey in the life of May Canady, who is played extraordinarily well by Angela Bettis (Bless the Child, Carrie remake). May has grown up lonely, because of a lazy eye she has. When she was a child, the children asked her if she was a pirate, because she wore a patch to cover it. Her only friend is a doll she got for her birthday from her mother. May tells this doll that she is her best friend.
Flash forward to modern day, where special contacts are able to force May’s eye into the right position. May is ecstatic, because she now feels “normal” enough to finally meet some people, and try to put her loneliness behind her. She becomes friendly with her co-worker Polly (Anna Ferris of Scary Movie) at a animal hospital where she works as the surgeons assistant and finally meets a boy named Adam Stubbs (Jeremy Sisto who will be in Wrong Turn). Adam’s hands and Polly’s neck fascinate May, always complimenting people on their beautiful parts to their body. She thinks though, that Adam is “perfect” all around.
Things seem great, May is finally fitting in, Adam likes May because she’s “weird” and Adam seems weird enough that they work together perfectly, only May has a misconception about what type of “weird” Adam likes. May messes’ things up between them and things start spiraling down for her.
Her best friend, the doll, becomes Mays output for anger, she yells and screams at the doll, blaming it for all of her problems. To put it briefly without ruining more, things get insane from here on out and I recommend avoiding the trailer at all costs if you haven’t seen it yet.
There are a million things that make this movie work, and I put McKee in the “future directors to watch” category along with Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko). What McKee exemplifies in is the understanding that knowing the characters well is what makes a movie tick. Mckee fills the first half of the movie with character building, but doesn’t bore you. He fills the movie with great dialogue, extraordinary acting, and weirdness all over the place to keep you entertained, even during the building process. For example, when Adam tells May that he liked weird, May is very excited, and tells Adam she has some weird stories from work. While they are eating, she tells a story abut how a dog came in for surgery, and they ran out of “thick” stitches (whatever the stuff was called) to tie the dogs stomach back together, so they doubled up on cat stitches. Well, the next day the owner calls back saying that he came home and the dog was sprawled out on the deck with his stomach pouring out and blood was sprayed all over the fence. His use of words and the timing of the story were great!
Another example of some fantastic filler is when Adam brings May over to his house, he shows her a video he made. The video is love video, and let me tell you, there is nothing ordinary about it. It’s about a couple, who start making out in the park, only they start biting and eating each other! McKee milks the word “weird” for all its worth, he has May invite Adam over for dinner and has macaroni and cheese and Gatorade for the main course. He doesn’t stop there though, its not all visual, he brings some weird dialogue to the plate as well.
After watching the cannibal sex scene, May says, “I don’t think she could have bit off his finger in one bite. That part was far fetched.” Adam gives her a strange look, as do I! But its not all weirdness, some of the wording fits perfectly with the story and about May. May asks Polly why she wont have her mole on her hand removed and Polly replies with, “My grandma says its imperfections that make you special.”
Speaking of imperfections, they seemed to be completely missing from May. The directing and the acting were grade A in my book, its unfortunate that a movie like this can make a $100 million dollar picture like Matrix: Reloaded look bad. Angela Bettis did one of the most incredible acting jobs I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see her in everything in the future. May is a very confidence lacking and shy individual; she’s very twitchy, nervous, and sad. All May wants is someone to love her for who she is, and love every part of her. She thinks she finds this is Polly and Adam, who make her feel special and perfect, but what she soon realizes is that no one is perfect. The way her confidence changes throughout the film is done with ease, and yet until the moment she snaps, you feel so sorry for her and wish things could be better. Bettis brings May to life, and pretty much carries the entire movie on her back, because without her, it would have been just another well-shot movie with some good dialogue, and no substance. Anna Ferris and Jeremy Sisto were both fantastic supporting cast members. Anna plays the sluttish lesbian co-worker who seduces May into believing she is something perfect, she does this with the skill of someone who’s been around awhile. Jeremy plays May’s hubby, and does a great job of being the guy who is intrigued by May and wants so badly to give her a chance.
Adding McKee’s amazing camera work with the great acting just made May even better. MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW During the later half of May, May has a break down, she blames her doll for Adam ignoring her, she blames her doll for Polly using her and making her feel special. She blames the doll for all the mistakes May has done, she screams and yells and freaks out. McKee lets you know this is the breaking point for May, he flashes between May freaking out in the shower and the dolls’ glass case cracking. It flashes back and forth, with chalkboard scratching type sound of the glass cracking. We see the glass crack, and May crack more and more, the intensity is astounding. Only after this scene, it leaves May skating on thin ice. May feels that in order to feel better about herself, she would help out at a local blind hospital for kids, and she tries to “get through” to one of the troubled children. She feels that her doll made her feel better, so maybe it will help these kids. The doll is in a glass case, which is on the brink of breaking, just like May, and the children want to “feel” the doll. So they grab it from her and eventually break the glass case, which also break May. McKee once again flashes acts of violence and anything that has been pushing May over the edge fro the beginning of the movie. There are shots of May giving surgery to animals, May killing her cat and all the people she thought loved her betraying her. It flashes by like the flashback scenes in Event Horizon.
All in all, I feel McKee did a brilliant job of creating an emotion behind the characters, especially May, which made this movie something special. When a movie is ending and you wish you could have more, its definitely something worthy of noting. I wish I could have talked more about the directing, but many of the sequences were filled with spoilers. But what it all comes down to is that there is a bright future ahead for Lucky McKee and Angela Bettis, both did a great job in bringing you another film Lions Gate should be proud of owning. I personally cannot wait for May to hit DVD this July, and I think I’m as excited for another Lucky McKee film as I am for another Richard Kelly flick, which says a lot! July 15th, buy this flick, and enjoy! One final word of advice though, avoid all trailers and looking up images on the web, they are filled to the brim with spoilers.