Imagine if a straight white male had directed May December (Netflix, 11.17), a movie about a Savannah-residing, May-December couple (Julianne Moore, Charles Melton) and the arrival of a famous actress (Natalie Portman) who will soon be portraying Moore in a film about the couple’s scandalous history.
The couple is based, of course, upon the notorious Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau, who began a sexual relationship in 1996 when Letourneau, a grade-school teacher, was 34, and Fualaau, one of her sixth-grade students, was 12. Letourneau did a seven-year stretch for the rape of a minor (1998 to 2004).
They were married in May 2005 when Letourneau was 43 and Fualaau was 22. The marriage lasted 14 years until their separation in 2019. Letourneau died of cancer the following year, at age 58.
May December concerns the long-term outcome of a relationship that began under diseased circumstances — i.e., the sexual grooming of a lad by a woman 22 years his senior. Has anyone said boo about the icky aspects since the film premiered in Cannes last May? They have not.
Imagine if May December was about a gray-haired actor paying an extended visit with a Woody Allen-ish director in his mid 80s along with the director’s wife, a 50ish Asian woman. As with May December, the actor would have been signed to portray this Allen-like director in a film, and his goal would be to learn as much as he can about the beginnings of their relationship in the early ’90s and how they’ve dealt with the public condemnation that resulted from some quarters.
Do you think if Manohla Dargis were to review such a film that she would cream in her slacks like she did when she saw May December four months ago?