May was such a peculiar movie.
Seeing as though it wanted to depict this disturbingly awkward and eerie character, I think the film was successful in making its audience feel unsettled. If in most movies, we notice the creepy factors of the film in flashing neon signs like for example in a psychopath or in gore, in May, we see it characterized in a character one would end up feeling sympathy for. We knew from the very beginning that May had a problematic upbringing. Her mother had this very iconic line which is more or less saying that May needed to “make” her own friends if she cannot find real ones. This dictates whatever else kind of interaction, amiss social cues, and personality May would have towards her journey as a growing adult. She seems to find comfort in the same doll given to her by her mother which is enclosed in a glass case. From this point on, we start to feel sorry for May as even as a child, she could not grasp fully what her condition would be doing to limit her social interaction. Instead of getting their child the therapy and briefing she might have needed in order to understand her condition and to socialize well with others, she was just given a bandaid solution that unfortunately carried over to her adult years.
Although we see may as a capable adult who does her job well, we also see how impaired she still is as a social creature. We see her try her best to interact with her coworkers or passersby but she ends up hurt if others don’t become as understanding. In the end, she is found to be fascinated by the body parts of those around her because maybe that’s just how she can feel or talk comfortably around those people. I think it is very hard to portray such a complex character so I really applaud the actress who had given life to May. We all seem to be able to think of one person in our high school class who might end up having the same personality as May if we were to put the quirks at a larger extent. And often, they are outcasted by the entire class. This is discussed in a number of readings since “the other” may very well be the outcasted, the weird, the socially inept, not because they choose to be but because they are not supplied with the necessary skills to do so. They are at a disadvantage because sometimes they do not choose to be this way, as with her condition.
This is what makes the finale of the movie so much more satisfying. The moment May had adorned herself with the same attire her broken doll had worn, she went into full on go-getter mode. I could feel everyone in the classroom excited about what she is about to do with her sudden change in stance. I find this satisfying feeling similar to what I felt when the formerly utilized Mia in Evil Dead finally gets her revenge on the “monster” who killed all her friends. May goes on this psychotic pilgrimage in order to gather the dismembered body parts she needed in order to make her own friend.
After watching the film, I felt a mix of repulsion and sympathy for the character because even after all the crazy lengths she took in order to make her “friend”, and thus, killing people in the process, we also note that this act was simply within her logic that she only wanted a real friend. A friend who will not make fun of her idiosyncrasies. We see how she wanted to please Adam by copying the film he made. All of her actions are in order to make her lasting relationships, something she never acquired outside her family members.
I think the film really tries to tell its audience that there might be people we encounter that we do not fully understand, resulting in them being outcasted. It is a lesson on how easily we could misinterpret someone’s actions without understanding where they are coming from.
Even at the very end, May tried to give a part of herself to her “doll” in order for it to feel like a true relational interaction.