Reverse Shot's complete coverage of the feature film output of the great American filmmaker.
Haynes is doing something extraordinarily delicate and difficult in May December, reminding viewers, with the lightest of touches, that we are all implicated and indulgent in the processes of social, cultural, and sexual exploitation that define the modern consciousness.
Despite the brouhaha it caused upon its premiere, the film cannot and should not be reduced to the sensation around it. What’s most radical about it remains intact all these decades later: its aesthetic ambition and its willingness to plunge viewers into a conceptual gambit left completely up to us to decode.
As the film draws to its conclusion, a fair-haired woman named Carol looks towards the camera in a medium close up and musters the strength and self-possession to say the words, “I love you.” Remarkably, this accurately describes the two finest films by Todd Haynes.
Dark Waters is at once a legal thriller, an environmental disaster movie, and a dramatized historical document of a region, spanning decades, from the atomic age to present. On its face, such a project, set primarily in corporate offices, might seem an unlikely fit for Todd Haynes.
At this point in his career, Haynes has transcended the queer ghetto and connected with broad, diverse audiences who approach his cinema from a multiplicity of perspectives and for whom Haynes’s biography matters less than their own in determining how they understand and appreciate his movies.
Those hoping that I’m Not There, with its splintered Dylans encompassing different portions of the man’s career, is the ur-text that will provide a greatest hits of a life (like a Ray or Walk the Line) will be sorely disappointed with Haynes’s more ambitious project.