Dark Comedy May December Puts Age-Gap Relationships Under the Microscope

Dark Comedy May December Puts Age-Gap Relationships Under the Microscope Elizabeth Natalie Portman
Credit: Netflix

Dark Comedy May December Puts Age-Gap Relationships Under the Microscope Elizabeth Natalie Portman
Credit: Netflix

Todd Haynes’s May December navigates through the complexities of an unconventional romance. Moreover, the title of the movie conceals a deeper meaning, so let’s find out what the May December movie title means.

What is May December About?

Before delving into the movie's title, let's explore what this dark comedy, starring Julianne Moore as Gracie Atherton-Yoo, Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Berry, and Charles Melton as Joe Yoo, is about.

A famous TV actress Elizabeth travels to Savannah, Georgia, for movie research on a new project depicting a tabloid romance gone wrong.

The affair once a staple of gossip columns involves Gracie and Joe.

Despite the age gap and Gracie’s past imprisonment, Joe and Gracie got married after her release.

Their unconventional marriage appears more typical than Elizabeth anticipated as their three children prepare to graduate high school.

However, Elizabeth’s observation triggers long-suppressed emotions, unraveling increasingly intricate layers of a ten-year-old scandal.

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So, What is the Meaning of May December?

Gracie and Joe in May December
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Credit: Netflix

The movie's title syncs perfectly with the phrase May December, signifying a relationship with a significant age difference between partners, exemplified by Gracie and Joe.

Haynes confirms that the title is an expression denoting “age-gap relationship.”

May December points toward the two months in a year.

The May in the term signifies that the younger partner is at the peak of their vitality, akin to the vibrancy associated with the springtime month.

Meanwhile, December denotes the older partner being nearer to the conclusion of their vibrance, similar to the winter month.

Speaking with Mubi, Haynes talked at length about the title of his movie.

He revealed that Samy Burch (writer) was the one who suggested the name.

He stated that he liked the title because “it’s simple and maybe reduces expectations of a lurid tabloid story.”

Elizabeth and Gracie in May December
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Credit: Netflix

Haynes also revealed that the month of May was important for him and the movie.

“The film is set in May, May is the graduation month and has Memorial Day, and so everything is framed within the month of May in a meaningful way,” Haynes said.

Meanwhile, Moore also talked about her character’s transgression.

“My character is someone who transgresses, and how do we address that? When is age inappropriate? When people are in different places developmentally. This is not appropriate and why we have boundaries around that,” Moore noted.

She added that the movie not only delves into Gracie’s transgressions but also explores those of everybody else.

May December made its debut at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2023, and was later released at select theaters on November 17, 2023.

May December is currently streaming on Netflix.

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