MAYking Friends

(Warning: Spoilers ahead)

May (2002) by Lucky Mckee was a strangely enjoyable movie. This I think was mostly because of the main character of the movie. Strangely enough, I found May to be strangely charming though very scary. In a way, I think that her character appealed to me because of how different she is from anyone normal. The movie in a way gave us a view into how someone who can be considered as somewhat abnormal thinks and feels and, this is something which I found very interesting, especially since there were some moments in which even I could identify with her reactions or feelings towards certain events.

The movie itself started on a horrific note, with May scooping her eye out with a spoon but, this kind of tone or violence does not actually encompass the entire film. The first few scenes of the film establish a back-story for May and why she is socially awkward. We see that as a child, she was teased and didn’t have much friends because she had a lazy eye. This however became much worse as her mom did not really help her through it but instead gave her a doll, Suzie to be her only friend. The rest of the movie shows us how this affected May as a grown up and this made everything very interesting to watch.

The first interaction which we get to watch is between Adam and May. It is here that we are slowly introduced to May’s obsessive personality (especially over Adam’s hands) and her need to feel loved. When they start going out, at first May enjoys it very much as Adam is weird in his own way and accepts May for who she is. This of course, is only until May crosses the line and goes a little overboard when she bites down on his lip hard, causing it to bleed during a make-out session. This was especially disturbing given that they had just watched a film Adam made which depicted a couple eating each other. After this, Adam breaks up with her and, we see how obsessive and borderline crazy she can be.

Another interaction we see is between May and Polly, her lesbian co-worker who has a crush on her. This relationship is completely different from that with Adam as, it is May who is constantly being hit on. May finally gives in to this after breaking up with Adam and, this becomes interesting as it seems like May is someone who really just needs love and is willing to get it wherever it comes from. This of course, is until Polly cheats on her which somehow pushes May over the edge.

In Harry Benshoff’s article, The Monster and the Homosexual, we can see how May can be seen as queer. First, she is seen as such because of how different she is as compared to the rest of the so-called normal people. She doesn’t understand social cues and this stems from her not having much friends growing up. This queerness is further seen in how she can be seen as a homosexual. It is because of this weirdness however that people look at her differently. As Benshoff says, homosexuality is seen as a threat because if goes against the norm. Because it is a threat, people then try to remove it by othering people whom they see as different which causes cases of social exclusion, such as what May felt.

In a way, we can see May as a victim. Because of how she is perceived as queer, society does not accept her. This is very much seen in how after getting to know her, people started to shun her and even avoid her out of either fear, disgust, simple disapproval, or a combination of these. Because of all this, May ended up trying to make her own friend which was in a way, her perception of what perfection could be. As Paul O’Flinn says in his article, Production and Reproduction: The Case of Frankenstein, “the monster isn’t separate and apart from you but rather a magnified image of yourself that you have projected.” Because of her status as an other, May projected the perfect specimen according to herself and, she did this by harvesting the body parts of people which she found to be beautiful and sewing them together to come up with a Frankenstein type monster. Because of being shunned by society, May created her own friend in the guise of what she felt society as she knew it would deem perfect.

May is a very strange film but, it is a film that I enjoyed. I would not say that the film stood out or that it was one the best films which I have seen but, I found it to be strangely charming and, would recommend it to most people.

References:

Harry M. Benshoff, “The Monster and the Homosexual.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).
Paul O’Flinn, “Production and Reproduction: The Case of Frankenstein.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).

 

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