May December Takes A Dramatic Journey in the Aftermath of a Crime

May December REview
May December, L to R: Julianne Moore as Gracie Atherton-Yoo with Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Berry. Cr. François Duhamel / Courtesy of Netflix

Take a little bit of true crime, a dash of drama and you have the new Netflix movie May December. While loosely based on actual events, the movie will take you on a dramatic journey in the aftermath of a crime. Do the years make the offense less egregious? Or can some crimes never be forgiven.

It won’t take you long to recognize the base of the story behind May December. An older woman who came from a military family is caught in an affair with a middle schooler, who eventually marries him and has their first child behind bars. The tabloids flashed on the screen only changed the location from a classroom to a pet shop and put Julianne Moore in for Mary Kay Letourneau. Her assault of her former husband and trials gripped the nation in the late 90s. And the movie even makes sure the characters physically resemble both Letourneau and Vili Fualaau.

May December Review
May December, L to R: Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Berry with Julianne Moore as Gracie Atherton-Yoo. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix

But the movie isn’t about the scandal, or what happened between Joe and Gracie. Instead, it takes place when their three children are grown up and the last two are graduating high school. At the same time, an actress Elizabeth comes to visit and learn more about Gracie who she will be portraying in an upcoming movie about the couple. Through the years, and even the trials, nothing has shaken the couple but Elizabeth’s presence may be what breaks it all down.

There are some odd moments in the film and some parts that will make audiences question how much the writers took from facts or added embellishments of their own. But there is just one looming melodic tone that at times feels completely out of place. The story is interesting, there is no doubt about that, and will have mass appeal for true crime fans. And it doesn’t try to paint Gracie in the best light, although completely ignoring the crime aspect is a bit of a cop-out. It will, however, make you wonder what life was like after the scandal for the family and what life could be like today.

May December will be streaming on Netflix on December 1st.

Overall Rating:

Four Star Review

About May December

May December

Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, a married couple (Julianne Moore, Charles Melton) buckles under the pressure when an actress (Natalie Portman) arrives to do research for a film about their past.


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