In May December, the new film by Academy Award-nominated director Todd Haynes, Oscar winner Natalie Portman plays actress Elizabeth Berry, who is in Savannah, Georgia researching a new role she’s about to play, that of the scandalized Gracie Atherton-Yoo.
Gracie was at the center of a nationwide tabloid scandal in 1992 when, at 36, she was caught having sex with 13-year-old Joe Yoo, a schoolmate of her son Georgie, at the pet store where she and Joe worked. 23 years later Gracie and Joe are married with three children: Honor, who is at college, and twins Charlie and Mary who are about to graduate high school.
Throughout the film, loosely based on the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal from 1997, Elizabeth insinuates herself into the Atherton-Yoo household, mimicking Gracie’s lisp and mannerisms, growing uncomfortably close with Joe and blurring the lines of what’s real and what’s not.
In this look at Portman’s performance, lauded at the best of her career, Haynes along with producer Christine Vachon, her Academy Award-winning co-star Julianne Moore (who plays Gracie) and more break down the brilliance of the star turn, including a glimpse at Portman’s killer monologue in the film.
May December is currently in select theaters and will be on Netflix December 1.
Photo: François Duhamel / Courtesy of Netflix