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Overall Rating

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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by Brian McKay

"Likes to be weird - but not weird enough"
3 stars

Like the fairly recent film GINGER SNAPS, MAY is a small indie horror-suspense title whose buzz has preceeded it, and which ends up being a well-written and well-acted film that still failed to really grab me on any level deeper than that of superficial enjoyment.

Unlike the recent "art house horror" greats DOG SOLDIERS or 28 DAYS LATER, there's just no compelling central theme or characters to root for in May, but rather a collection of interesting ideas and strong performances that fail to gel into a truly engaging thriller.

May (Angela Bettis) is an introverted young woman who grew up with a lazy eye, and has always been an outsider because of it. Her mother gives her a doll named Susie, which she hand-made herself, to serve as May's "Best Friend". However, the doll comes enclosed in a glass case, with the admonition that she should never be taken out and played with.

Fast Forward to the present, where May is now working as a Veterinarian's assistant, still saddled with the shyness and insecurities of her childhood. However, there's a new boy she's got her shy little eye on (the good one), and when her optometrist is able to correct her eye problem with the use of contact lenses, she decides to go after the hunky young mechanic Adam (Jeremy Sisto). Adam doesn't notice her at first, despite her sudden transformation to wearing sexy clothes and using every trick in her admittedly clumsy repertoire to get his attention.

When he finally takes an interest in her, though, they have a brief period of giddy courtship. When she asks Adam if he thinks she's weird, he replies "I do think you're weird - but I like weird". Just how much "weird" he actually likes is soon put to the test, and when things get a little too weird with the obsessive May, he gives her the cold shoulder.

Heartbroken over the rejection, May briefly takes solace in the arms of her strange and slutty co-worker Polly (Anna Ferris), who has a thing for the ladies. Desperate for companionship, May gives in to Polly's advances, only to discover later that their night together was a mere fling, and that she has been the latest in a string of Polly's discarded girl-toys.

Throughout all of the awkward fumbling toward human solace, and the subsequent rejection, May talks to and argues with her encased doll frequently, smashing down on the case at one point and causing a series of slowly spreading hairline fractures in the glass that crackle and creak toward the inevitable rupture (a serviceable, if uninspired, metaphor for May's sanity). When Susie is finally freed from her case, the truly twisted side of May comes out as well.

While the film's characters are interesting, and there are enough moments of humor and gore to keep things going at a brisk clip, the script suffers from the same kind of uneven schizophrenia that inhabits May's persona. It bounces from idea to idea, but none of the ideas help create the kind of taut and unnerving atmosphere that a film like this requires. The biggest disappointment about May is that nothing really comes as a surprise. It all unfolds pretty much as expected, especially if you've been paying attention to May's earlier fascination with observing people on the street and focusing in on their best "parts".

Angela Bettis certainly gives a strong performance, yet her character comes off like a cliche'. The blame for this can be firmly laid on the way the character is written, rather than the way Bettis portrays her. One of the problems with May is that everyone in it is far too attractive, especially Bettis herself, whose waifish and stunning good looks cannot be easily concealed behind a fake lazy eye and a few intentionally bad clothing and hairstyle choices. Her character comes off like the love child of a supermodel and Ted Levine's "Buffalo Bill" character in Silence of the Lambs. And while May is a very lonely and tragic character that inspires moments of genuine heartfelt sympathy, she is too spread all over the map. One minute she's the mousy geek with the squeaky voice, the next (after a change into sexier clothes) she's the clumsy but wholly appealing temptress, the next she's the cold, confident, and ruthless peruser of "perfect" parts. A testament to Bettis' substantial range and skill as an actress? Yes. But a truly credible and enthralling character? Not really.

While there are several praise-worthy elements of MAY , the titular character's lament that "Most people have perfect parts, but are never perfect in their whole" applies just as well to the film. There are some great moments, and Bettis certainly gives it the college try, but for some reason her character is only able to invoke a fraction of the genuinely unsettling creepiness that other actresses have achieved - Eihi Shiina in AUDITION, for example. However, if you don't mind the fact that the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, you will find plenty to pick and choose from that is to your liking.

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originally posted: 07/05/03 20:07:31
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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
8/18/09 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 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. 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 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
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  06-Jun-2003 (R)
  DVD: 17-Aug-2004



Directed by
  Lucky McKee

Written by
  Lucky McKee

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

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