I think we can all agree when I say I thought the movie May (2002) had a lot to do with a crazy doll-became-alive storyline. A lot of the focus was on May (Angela Bettis) and her doll. She would constantly talk and interact with it in general. She grew up with the doll, considering it as her friend. When the doll’s glass case was slowly getting cracked I thought, “about damn time, doll!” Much to my dismay, the doll’s coming alive did not have much to do with the plot. All throughout I was hoping for this kind of not-so-big plot twist but hey, the real plot twist was even better.
The film was about May and her psychological transformation. Since birth, she had been known as the girl with the lazy eye. Her childhood was composed mostly of other kids ignoring her because of how scary she had looked. Which was why her mom (Merle Kennedy) decided to give her the doll: to have a friend.
If you can’t find a friend, make one.
Having a friend for a doll was not only weird and peculiar but it also made May a socially awkward person. We can see that when she was trying to flirt with Adam (Jeremy Sisto). We also saw how she had a knack for what most people would be repulsed about. And even though she had her lazy eye fixed, she was still considered as an Other of society because of these characteristics. A lonely and eccentric girl who liked disgusting things, worked for the animal hospital, and was strange to talk to.
She was also evidently under the scrutiny of the male gaze. Perhaps for Adam, he was giving May a shot because he was only looking for something to pass time by. He never truly liked her as a person. This film had another case of a woman being treated as objects by men… and women. Polly (Anna Faris), an aggressive and adventurous lesbian was also obviously only looking for a fun time with a girl like May.
Eventually her being other-ed took its toll. She had enough after being rejected by Adam and being replaced by Polly for another girl Ambrosia (Nichole Hiltz). No one ever truly liked her for who she was. May was only looking for real people who saw her as a real person. She had finally realized that her only true friend was her doll Suzie. With this she resolved to make Suzie human. This decision ultimately would possibly isolate her even more from society. Her ideas were deemed out of this world, even the film audience would say so. She would choose to be an Other still, and I think that for her it was okay long as she had Suzie.
Sounds familiar does it not? This one reminded me a lot of Frankenstein. May could be the mad scientist. Well, she really was mad—angry and crazy at the same time. To make Suzie human, of course she would need human body parts. And because she was mad she took it out on the people who hurt her—Adam, Polly, and Ambrosia—and got their body parts to assemble Suzie’s body. During this part of the movie I had finally realized why May was so fixated on people’s body parts. She was aspiring for the perfect body with the perfect parts because that was how she had been imagining Suzie. A perfect person who understood her in all aspects of her life.
This was the plot twist I never saw coming. I never thought she would ever be capable of even slashing out body parts. But what do I know? This is a horror film after all. Also, May had the hots for blood and hurting each other when she was about to have sex with Adam. So yes maybe she was capable after all. Especially when she realized nobody could ever understand, appreciate and love her the way Suzie did. In a way, she was fighting back to the society that oppressed and hurt her.
For me this movie was very unique and unexpected and I loved it for that. The repercussions of oppressing people could be dire and big, perhaps like how May went on a slashing spree (but I hope to God this does not occur in reality). What I can say from this is Other-ing is indeed dangerous. I have heard this a million times over the course of my life, especially with this Horror Film class. But it only made such a big and lasting mark to me after the film May. I guess my main take-away from this movie is to see through people. What makes them human and real is not the physique. Sometimes what other people really wants is to be seen and appreciated for who they truly are. And sometimes people can find that comfort even in only one person (or thing). Props to the makers of this movie for having such a deep and real meaning. This film doubled as a horror film and a homeroom teacher!