May December

May December ★★★★

Julianne Moore’s performance is ostensibly the center of this film and it’s not bad by any means, even accounting for a lisp affectation that makes you wonder, “Is she trying to talk with a lisp?” But it’s overshadowed by a career best for Natalie Portman, who is interrogating the nature of her own stardom in a genuinely interesting way, and by Charles Melton, who capitalizes on his relatively meager fame to turn in a performance that feels fully, wholeheartedly lived in. For all intents and purposes, there’s zero daylight between Melton the actor and the role he plays; it’s almost overwhelmingly convincing—and heartbreaking. It’s around these three power players that Todd Haynes arranges a masterfully constructed narrative, one of his best works ever. If not a masterpiece, it’s very, very close.

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