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Overall Rating
4.33

Awesome58.97%
Worth A Look: 23.93%
Average: 11.97%
Pretty Bad: 1.71%
Total Crap: 3.42%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings


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May
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by Scott Weinberg

"One of 2003's finest releases - that you won't get to see until it hits DVD"
5 stars

I'm madly in love with a girl who would probably chop off my fingers and sew them to her own hand. I'm weird that way.

Lucky McKee's heartbreakingly brilliant May is the sort of flick that, on paper, sounds like yet another "disaffected loner suffering mightily before dramatically losing touch with reality with horrifically bloody consequences" affair - and to some small degree it does fit that designation...only it's about 50 times better than that description often implies.

Anyone familiar with this crowded sub-genre make liken May to films like Carrie, The Craft, Christine, Laserblast or (if they really know their stuff) the Clint Howard gorefest Evilspeak, save for the fact that McKee's film is darker, funnier and more bizarrely touching than all of those movies combined.

The history of this soon-to-be cult-classic is rather interesting in and of itself: first-time writer/director produces an uncompromisingly unique film, showcases it (4 popular screenings!) at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, has it purchased for an even million by Lion's Gate Films, and earns an arcane "test release" on ten screens in Fresno and Austin. Lion's Gate wisely opted to let May linger at one Austin multiplex, which allowed me to catch it on an excursion away from the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival.

The theater manager informed me (and two pals forced to attend through the power of loud haranguing) that "you guys are seeing what's probably the movie's final theatrical appearance", and my loyal friends and I were the only three people in the entire theater. Between cab fare, tickets and snacks, May set me back about 35 bucks - and I consider every cent money well spent.

Since May will undoubtedly become a massive cult fave once it hits DVD, I'll gladly avoid giving away too many plot specifics, but here's the general idea:

Saddled throughout her childhood with a rather unattractive 'lazy eye', May Canady is a mousy, socially inept and altogether ignored 'ugly duckling' of a gal - which is not to say that May is UGLY in any way. As played by the amazing Angela Bettis, May possesses a fragile beauty that makes the character all the more sadly endearing.

Convinvced by her stunningly insensitive mother that she's destined for a lifetime of loneliness, the now 20-something May spends her days as a veternarian's assistant and her nights confiding in a rather creepy homemade doll given to her by dear old Mom. Shaken from her self-imposed routine of isolation and despair by a crush on a seemingly sweet local mechanic (Jeremy Sisto, offering a surprisingly excellent performance), May takes a few tentative steps toward improving her social skills.

Alas, the lessons learned during her alienated childhood prove too powerful to overcome, and the tragic goofball begins to sink quickly into a dementia known only by the world's most insane seamstresses. (That was a hint...and it's all you're getting from me at this point.)

It's hard to say which is more impressive: that May deftly juggles gruesome horror, bizarrely touching romance, pitch black humor and heart-wrenching tragedy with nary a misstep - or that everything on display is presented courtesy of a filmmaker working on his first feature film. One thing that is an absolute certainty: Angela Bettis delivers one of the finest acting performances I've ever seen in a horror film - and I've seen about 3,000 of 'em in my time.

The relatively unknown (at least at present) actress inhabits the title character with haunted eyes, delicately pale features and an entirely lovable sad-sack persona - and it takes an actor of supreme skill to retain some semblance of sympathy as they commit the horrible things that May eventually does. In other words, Bettis is drop-dead perfect and her presence elevates an already excellent film into something truly special.

(Also worthy of resounding praise is the stunningly amusing presence of Anna Faris - who plays May's co-worker and astonishingly playful lesbian pal. If all you know of this gal is her work in the Scary Movie flicks, be prepared to be blown away.)

There's no denying that 'May' is quite simply NOT a film for all tastes, but if you like your genres stewed together and cooked into a film so sinfully wonderful that it defies description, I absolutely recommend you search this one out as soon as possible. I had to travel over 1,000 miles to check this flick out and I consider myself lucky for having done so.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5750&reviewer=128
originally posted: 03/15/03 19:48:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf One of the best movies I have ever seen! 5 stars
8/20/10 PAUL SHORTT SORDID CHILLER 1 stars
8/18/09 Tony So. incredibly. good. creepiest movie ive seen in a while. 5 stars
3/16/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess uite possibly 5 stars
2/02/09 Lee "Actually, I kinda liked it, Do me again" 5 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner The storyline is well made! 5 stars
5/19/08 BJ Love this unique movie. Had to own it. 5 stars
5/19/08 Ambrosia Angela Bettis, te amo!!! Come here! 5 stars
5/11/08 mr.mike Effective , however I thought "Romeo" was better 4 stars
6/21/07 Spook one of the best independent films ever! 5 stars
5/24/07 Ted R Brilliant....twisted.....haunting 5 stars
5/09/07 Andy B who would not like this movie? 5 stars
5/05/07 gen sad and intriguing. the character study on this is really good 5 stars
4/18/07 Kyle_S i just saw this movie, and it was really different...in a good way 5 stars
4/12/07 sara it was funny and tragic and the actors were great 5 stars
3/27/07 fools♫goldÖ Scared if being scared 5 stars
3/18/07 Siren angela bettis is great in this movie! 5 stars
3/07/07 Succubus_Incubus The best movie ever made! Yeah. 5 stars
12/15/06 T. McGregor A quirky, character driven horror movie with a nasty, sad ending. Long live May! 5 stars
11/15/06 Morbidica A great horror story, with a tragic end and lusty twists 5 stars
11/13/06 Dark Enchantress Beautifully grotesque! 5 stars
11/09/06 Jason great director, great plot, totally unique! 5 stars
11/09/06 DarkEnchantress My fav. movie...disturbing...how i love them! 5 stars
10/22/06 AJ Muller Angela Bettis is something special; so is the flick-sad/funny/creepy, an eye-opening winner 5 stars
10/10/06 Pritchett Complete garbage. I question the sanity of those who call it a masterpiece. Please... 1 stars
7/02/06 Jambi Truly one of the stupidest and most pointless movies I've ever seen. A total eye-roller. 1 stars
5/18/06 Cherita Black It is a masterpiece!!!! I've been wainting for something like it forever! It's my favorite. 5 stars
8/17/05 bujene everyone should watch it carefully there are important messages 4 stars
12/04/04 K. Sear A brave attempt but it fell short. Not terrible but could be beter. 3 stars
11/15/04 psycho black dwarf where others settle for Photoshop-doctored pictures, May needs the real thing. 4 stars
11/08/04 jack an unrealistic film with a good ending 3 stars
10/25/04 Me A great film 5 stars
8/28/04 whatevr pygmolean meets frankenstein 4 stars
7/25/04 Find The Keys For a horror flick, this is quite good (I must admit)...for a horror flick (that is). 3 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva odd 3 stars
5/14/04 mark louis baumgart The last third is pretty good, but, man, it takes frigging FOREVER to get there. 3 stars
5/03/04 Me A great film 5 stars
4/26/04 Denise Duspiva Avante Garde 4 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt MAY is A-MAY-ZING! Smart, touching, and wonderfully weird! Bettis & Faris are GREAT! 5 stars
3/29/04 Kristen Ankiewicz Unbelievably great performances 5 stars
3/20/04 true review weird in a cool way, good lead performance, tongue in cheek gore, Amelie if she were insane 4 stars
12/10/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/02/03 malcolm hard for me to recommend but i couldnt turn away.if u liked 'may' see polanski's 'repulsion 3 stars
11/27/03 he A GREAT FILM 5 stars
10/20/03 Jim Sad tale of lonely misfit. Had no idea Anna Faris was that hot, either. 5 stars
10/18/03 Jon An instant cult classic. Not for all tastes, but those who'll love it will REALLY love it! 5 stars
10/10/03 Erik Van Sant Disturbing and disgustingly hilarious. McKee...welcome to the genre. 5 stars
10/06/03 sneaker Whoever directed this should go back to shooting commercials. Please. 2 stars
10/01/03 Redpajammas a great film 5 stars
9/23/03 Alice It was not all that to me, expected more 3 stars
9/15/03 Alton Robertson Worth seeing for the ending alone. Superb creepy salted with black comedy. 4 stars
8/31/03 Connie Theil A poignant, touching tale of about the loneliness and madness of a young girl. 5 stars
8/29/03 Albie Great strange erotic scene with Bettis and Faris 4 stars
8/23/03 nr great 5 stars
8/01/03 grimthall the black this movie sucks 2 stars
7/16/03 Mike May is an extremely disturbing movie in all the right ways. A true thriller. A great movie. 5 stars
7/16/03 Kyle Incredible. Damn, I wish I saw this in theaters. Lucky McKee is destined for great things. 5 stars
7/15/03 Ellen Willis Is a perfect film from the unhappy girls than became to found a love finally. 5 stars
6/30/03 Jay didnt like 1 stars
6/29/03 Chicago Wolf The Best Movie of the Year. Bettis is great and Anna Faris is unbelievable. 5 stars
6/10/03 george schmidt A truly creepy/funny horror flick a la "Carrie" and then some 5 stars
6/09/03 Caiphn Angelis Bettis is a great actress. Creepy flick! 4 stars
5/30/03 Jon Leroux Wow. I'm not sure whether I should cry like crazy or scream in absolute horror. 5 stars
2/22/03 Lynz incredibly funny, i couldn't stop giggling, good girl/girl action 3 stars
2/22/03 Darren Shea Creepy, creepy film. Angela Bettis is phenomenal. 5 stars
2/16/03 bob twisted, indeed 5 stars
12/07/02 BAM great 5 stars
11/13/02 Andrew Carden It's Creepy How Perfect This Film Is. Just Plain Old Fun. 5 stars
7/12/02 Chris My new favorite flick 5 stars
7/09/02 cerise A truly unforgettable movie watching experience.you must see it for yourself to appreciate 5 stars
7/02/02 Burn Matthews great movie..fucking awsome..greatest lines ive heard in a while.. 5 stars
5/28/02 neonjazz I like it very much! Creepy yet absolutely enjoyable! 5 stars
5/11/02 Andrew Duncan gREAT! Fun, gruesome and sort of touching. Great Music, too! 5 stars
4/30/02 JBrown Beautifully Twisted!!! 5 stars
4/21/02 Kevin May is a cleverly written, touching story that will fill you with laughs and gasps. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Jun-2003 (R)
  DVD: 17-Aug-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
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Directed by
  Lucky McKee

Written by
  Lucky McKee

Cast
  Angela Bettis
  Jeremy Sisto
  Anna Faris
  Merle Kennedy
  Will Estes
  Mike McKee



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