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Breaking down the ending of May December

may december ending, explained what happened
What happens at the end of May December?Sky / Netflix

Everyone is talking about May December, the deliciously complicated and sometimes darkly comic film from director Todd Haynes starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton. What did you think of how May December ends? Were you even more creeped out than you started? Were you full of hope, or dread, or a weird combination of the two?

A lot of questions at the end are left unanswered and meant to be left to your interpretation. It's unfortunately — for those who prefer to have everything wrapped up — the point. A film like this stays with you after the credits roll. You're uncomfortable and confused because the movie doesn't give you any cut-and-dry answers about right and wrong or even what really happened in the lives of these characters. You're left thinking about how we the audience become complicit in criminal acts because we like good stories and complicated people. (You know, for example...) The upside is that when there is no answer, there's no wrong answer. Make up your own mind!

May December, as you probably already know, follows Elizabeth, a television actor in pursuit of emotional truth who goes to visit the infamous woman she's set to portray in an independent film: Gracie, who went to jail for statutory rape in the 90s and subsequently married the young man she had allegedly fell in love with when she was 36 and he was in the seventh grade. This story mirrors the real-life case of Mary Kay Letourneau and a few others. Throughout the film, Elizabeth learns more and more about this woman whose criminal acts are treated as monstrous by some and mundane by others. She becomes obsessed and gets way too involved in the family's real life. And for what?

may december ending, explained what happened
Sky / Netflix

What happens at the end of May December?

The film ends at Gracie and Joe's twins' graduation ceremony. Gracie spends the morning hunting, while Joe gets the kids ready. He drops them off at school and watches from the field, away from his wife and older daughter Honor, crying complex tears. Elizabeth also appears at the ceremony and says goodbye before leaving Savannah to start shooting the movie.

Who was telling the truth about Gracie's brothers?

At the graduation ceremony, Gracie reveals to Elizabeth that she knows Georgie told her that she was sexually abused by her brothers. She says Georgie was lying, and that that never happened. She also implies that she has a good relationship with her son, actually, and they talk every day contrary to what Georgie told Elizabeth. Who's telling the truth, the mother or the son? Elizabeth doesn't get to know for sure and neither do we. It's just one last reminder that you can never truly understand a person. All it takes is one dollop of doubt.

Is the movie within the movie any good?

Honestly, Elizabeth's movie looks pretty cringe and low-budget. And, based on the way she asks for one more take because, and this is a direct quote, "it's getting more real," I think it's safe to say that she's not in a healthier place mentally for doing so. Yikes!

how to watch may december uk
Sky

Do Joe and Gracie stay together?

That's one of the most important unanswered questions! It's very clear at the beginning that Joe is not happy, though it takes him the entire film to realise it himself. He may leave Gracie after the events of the film. The pieces were there. He had started to process what happened to him. He broke down crying on multiple occasions. With an empty nest and a nice friend in Durham he texts about bugs, he has an out. It would make Elizabeth's disruptive visit worth it, in a way. But we'll never know. We have to just hope, or decide for ourselves.

WATCH NOW May December is coming exclusively to Sky Cinema from 8 December.


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