In a 5.25 assessment of the Cannes Film Festival (“At a Particularly Strong Cannes Film Festival, Women’s Desires Pull Focus“), N.Y. Times critic and gender celebrationist Manohla Dargis totally dismisses Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s Black Flies, calling it “ridiculous.”

Black Flies, which I approved of in a 5.19 review, is based upon Shannon Burke‘s same-titled 2008 book, an account of his own rough-and-tumble experience as a NY Fire Department paramedic.

So this Tye Sheridan-Sean Penn film is what it is, but in Dargis’s view it isn’t underwhelming or overly generic or bludgeoning. No, it’s worthy of ridicule!

HE to Dargis: Does Martin Scorsese‘s Bringing Out The Dead also qualify in this regard?

In the same article Dargis swoons over Todd HaynesMay December, which I found strained, clumsy and, at times, borderline infuriating.

One of May December‘s forehead-slappers is a scene in which Julianne Moore‘s Gracie Atherton, a somewhat neurotic and brittle 60something who runs a dessert-cooking business out of her Savannah home, suffers a near-hysterical meltdown because a wealthy client has cancelled a birthday cake order.

Right away you’re asking yourself “if Gracie shrieks and wails over a cancelled cake order, how would she react if, God forbid, a pet was killed or if something horrible happened to one of her children?”

Concepts of proportion and restraint don’t seem to exist in Haynes’ creative realm.

Then it hit me — a Black Flies reshoot that, once integrated, might persuade Dargis to not call it “ridiculous.”

HE to Dargis: What if the Black Flies producers add Julianne Moore to the film and give her a glorified cameo? Have Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan visit her spacious Cobble Hill apartment, having heard from a concerned neighbor that she’s shrieking and wailing and possibly in major distress. They arrive only to realize that Moore is experiencing an emotional breakdown due to a client having cancelled a birthday cake order. The client has promised to pay for the cake but Moore is nonetheless heartbroken and bawling her eyes out.

Whaddaya think, Manohla? Would this scene, if added, help to rescue Black Flies?