The Last Days of May

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: George Spyros

REVIEWED: 03-29-99

May is a young woman in her early 20s who is a tangled mass of neuroses and complexes. Her various disorders make it impossible for her to function in society; the only place where she's in her element is when she's working with kids at her job, connecting with them through her own childlike nature. Her mom's loutish coworkers prey on her, and a drunken backseat grapple leads to sex. Her mother is hardly better off than she is, but has appointed herself as May's guardian angel in a sick variant of the mother-daughter relationship. As the disintegrating May, Dahlia Mindlin calls to mind a young Mia Farrow in her harrowing portrayal of the fragile Rosemary. Filled with wobbly hand-held camerawork and abrupt edits, comparisons to John Cassavetes are also inevitable, as the story advances more through characters than plot. All in all, it adds up to an increasingly uncomfortable and agonizing viewing experience that leaves the audience like rubberneckers at a highway pileup, horrified but unable to look away. Eventually, the root cause of the family's problems is made abundantly clear, but by that time it's too late for May or the audience to turn away.

--Jerry Renshaw

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