May December

Director: Todd Haynes
Year Released: 2023
Rating: 2.5

Juilliard-trained actress Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) travels to Savannah to visit with baker Gracie (Julianne Moore) - who infamously had sex with 13-year-old Joe (Charles Melton) at a pet store where they both worked, went to prison and then married him - to do research for an independent movie role based on Gracie's life - while there, she also has conversations with Gracie's ex-husband Tom (D. W. Moffett) and bitter son Georgie (Cory Michael Smith) ... and then goes "Full Method" and seduces Joe.  This was inspired by the real-life scandal involving former school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau (who became intimate with her underage student Vili Fualaau in 1996) with Haynes giving it a kind of Douglas Sirk-inspired soap opera-ish feel (the shots of the two of them in the bathroom bring to mind Bergman's Persona), and although it doesn't say anything particularly revelatory about the dynamic itself (which was covered extensively in the tabloids) ... there are things going on beneath the surface (and the acting is top-notch).  It's clear that Gracie is unstable - she's passive-aggressive with her children, scolds Joe for drinking and has a breakdown when someone cancels an order - and that Joe is unhappy as well, flirting with another woman on Facebook and coming to the realization his own youth was stolen from him: as is common knowledge, many heterosexual relationships with large age gaps tend to not last (Mary Kay and Vili separated in 2019 and she passed away in 2020).  The comment Georgie makes regarding Gracie's "involvement" with her older brothers is intended to be this "magical key" that "solves" the situation, but Gracie dismisses it - maybe it really was that she and Joe, like "good performers," just tricked themselves into believing they were in love.