by Rob DiCristino
“Peace is sitting on a lake in the summertime,” reads Elizabeth (Natalie Portman). “Peace is a Coca-Cola on a hot summer day. Peace is being with you.” Scrawled in pastel marker on pink construction paper, the poem is one of Gracie’s (Julianne Moore) most important keepsakes from Joe (Charles Melton), who composed it for her in the seventh grade. When he was in the seventh grade, that is, and she was a thirty-six year-old married mother of three who was very likely already carrying his child. Twenty years after their affair rocked their shoreside Savannah community, television star Elizabeth stands in the family kitchen, reading the poem as she prepares to play Gracie in a film adaptation. “The assignment was ‘What is peace?’” concludes Gracie, who apparently felt the artifact required further illumination. That’s Gracie, though, a high-tension bundle of neuroses so brittle that a strong wind may shatter her entirely. Though plainly in denial about the way her crimes have destabilized nearly everyone in her orbit, Gracie’s naivety seems shockingly genuine.
May December is opens in select theaters on November 17 and comes to Netflix on December 1st.