May (2002) movie poster

(2002) dir. Lucky McKee
viewed: 06/20/07

I never heard of this film til I saw it in the video store and on Netflix.  I didn’t know anything about it.  But it just kept cropping up, staring at me.  So, this was the last of my little lowbrow horror fest, even though it fell out of sequence in regards to watching stuff.

It’s a surprisingly endearing little film.  Ostensibly about the quintessential lonely outsider, a girl, the titular May, whose friendless childhood and weird obsession with dolls, sewing, and gore makes her the perfect little proto-goth gal, almost like those little “Emily Strange” images, though far more cutely cheerful.  Angela Bettis really makes the character work, playing a quirky girl with some genuine charm even with much pretense.  This film is in many ways a love story about someone who has never learned how to interact with anyone.

She falls for this guy, who she immediately idealizes but doesn’t completely understand, who is also into some of the same things that she is, but not to her level of intensity.  There is something about this relationship that rings true, as he genuinely likes her and is interested in her, staying sensitive to her even in rejecting her.  As things conspire around her to fail to meet her beliefs in the world, May’s world shatters into pieces and she moves from strange and charming into total mental breakdown.  Again, there is something in this that really strikes a chord of truth.

Of course, though, this is also a horror film, so she flips out and kills a bunch of people, in a flailing attempt at constructing an idealized friend/lover.  The tone that the film takes during her breakdown is where the film falters, I think.  Though, the ending does pull some of the sentiment back together.

In all, I found it a surprisingly sweet and likable film.

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