Movie Review: ‘May December’, ‘Saltburn’, and ‘Maestro’

Must Read

Princess Pitts Pierre
Princess Pitts Pierre
A lifestyle blog and resource for food, family, inspiration, healthy living, decor & more.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

A Movie Review: Unveiling Intrigue, Controversy, and Passion Across Three Spellbinding Films

From the intricate tale of scandalous romance to a descent into macabre wealth and a poignant portrayal of love and secrecy, these movies promise a journey through multifaceted storytelling. Let’s delve into the immersive worlds of “May December,” “Saltburn,” and “Maestro”.

May December starring Julianna Moore and Charles melton
Gracie (Julianne Moore) and Joe (Charles Melton) in the film May December, directed by Todd Haynes from a screenplay by Samy Burch, based on a story by Burch and her husband, Alex Mechanik.


“May December” delves into the controversial affair of Gracie and Joe, encapsulating the tumultuous aftermath of their notorious relationship. Julianne Moore and Charles Melton breathe life into characters grappling with their past as Hollywood actress Elizabeth, played by Natalie Portman, reignites long-buried emotions. The film artfully avoids painting clear heroes or villains, presenting a nuanced exploration of morally complex situations.

It is very loosely based on the real case of Mary May Letourneau, who began an affair with her underage student, eventually marrying him and having children. I believe the film merely takes the idea of that case and then writes a whole new tale, and is not actually based on their reality or relationship.

Is May December a good movie?

The film is a well-done portrait of various lives based on one controversial affair. There are no good guys or bad guys in the film, which was kind of surprising considering Gracie and Joe’s relationship began when she was his 36-year-old teacher (married with children), and Joe was 13 years old.

With this film, just enjoy the journey – but do not expect a conclusive destination, which will keep you from being disappointed.

The music, initially, was offputting. You’ll quickly know exactly what I mean by this. Pivotal moments are highlighted by this intense, old-school 90’s soap opera music, and I soon realized it was because they were capturing the drama of that time period (the film is set in 2015, but the affair happened in 1992).

The film shows a lot without saying much, which sort of leaves it open to a lot of interpretation. Some of the pivotal scenes are quiet, while others are right in your face, and we, as the viewers, start to discover the past and present traumas that are going on.

Gracie (Julianne Moore) has an ere of bluntness at first, but as you quickly learn, she probably wasn’t much of an adult when she met the boy (Charles Melton) because she was barely adulting as a so-called adult. He is more of an adult in their relationship, but his young age rears up when he interacts with his kids as a teen versus how a father would. It raises a lot of questions – you know it’s wrong, but was it right for them?

I do wish we were given more as far as an ending, and honestly, Portman’s creep factor almost made this movie feel like it would turn into a “Single White Female” type of film.

Watch the trailer here:


Saltburn movie poster; movie review of saltburn
Written, directed, and produced by Emerald Fennell, starring Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Alison Oliver, Archie Madekwe, and Carey Mulligan.


Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn” offers an unsettling plunge into the lives of the wealthy, navigating a surreal landscape of opulence and disturbing behaviors.

The stellar cast of Saltburn is led by Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi. The film crafts a narrative rife with chilling revelations, unspoken intensity, and a roller coaster ride of WTF moments. Its seamless blend of suspense and foreshadowing leaves audiences on the edge, questioning the intricacies of manipulation and power.

Where can you watch Saltburn? And is Saltburn worth watching?

It is exclusively available on Amazon Prime Video for Prime members. And yes, it is 100% worth the watch. It is like the 2023 “A Clockwork Orange” with its escalation of deranged behaviors.

Saltburn is an old-world castle full of expensive art and relics from royalties. They don’t get into specifics of their relation or connection to the royals, but they are all extremely nonchalant about their vast wealth and don’t work very hard at being decent individuals.

Bathtubs will never look the same to me, and forget about see-through nightdresses and gardens. The absurdity and disturbing nature of it all blew my mind. There is a ton of foreshadowing throughout the film, but you won’t know that’s what you saw until the end. 

Is Oliver pulling the strings or playing in the hands of puppeteers? There are no spoilers here, but there are a lot of harrowing moments that make this film rated for whatever comes after “R”, because, wow!

Watch the trailer here:


Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan as young Leonard Bernstein and his wife
Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan star as Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre, directed by Bradley Cooper, written by Bradley Cooper and Josh Singer; produced by Martin Scorsese, Bradley Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Fred Berner, Amy Durning, and Kristie Macosko Krieger.


Maestro” presents Bradley Cooper’s transformative portrayal of Leonard Bernstein, chronicling the maestro’s life and his intricate relationship with actress Felicia Montealegre, played by Carey Mulligan. The film’s authenticity, backed by approval from Bernstein’s family, navigates the complex dynamics of a love story intertwined with personal struggles and societal conventions. Cooper’s immersive performance and attention to detail shine in this mesmerizing biopic.

Is Maestro an accurate biopic portrayal? Is it worth a watch?

Bernstein’s three children praised Cooper’s performance, telling the Hollywood Reporter that they were included in Cooper’s work, received all the drafts of the script, and that, “…he screened the work in progress for us at various stages of the project. He asked us a lot of questions, and we tried to not ask for too many corrections.” Family approval is always a big plus for me when a biopic is exploring a brilliant yet controversial life.

The film also correlates well with their daughter’s memoir (“Famous Father Girl – A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein” by Jamie Bernstein); no additional controversies or graphic nudity was added for the shock factor. It is a beautifully done love story, actually. As far as accuracy goes, it is best summed in a quote by Nina (Bernstein’s daughter) in the HR article: “…Ultimately, it’s his [Bradley] movie and if he wants to take a certain artistic license, that’s up to him. Only if there was a glaring error would we say: Actually, it happened this way.”

At about 20 minutes in, you completely forget that it’s Bradley Cooper. By mid-movie, he is utterly unrecognizable and is so completely Lenny Bernstein. It also plays on the time period by being film noir style (black and white) for part of the movie.

Bradley always envelopes himself in his characters, which is why I’ve come to love his films.

Maestro showcases L.B.’s music with drawn-out performances, not just snippets. He cleverly uses L.B.’s music as the background music throughout the film, schooling viewers on some of his famous works (including West Side Story).  I watched, ignorant of who he was, never having heard his name. Ironically, I’ve loved Broadway and West Side Story for most of my life and never knew he was part of its creation.

This film captures the ebbs and flows of love. Especially the lies you’ll tell yourself, or better yet, the things you’ll accept for that love. Their heartbreak is palpable, two people crashing into love and watching life crash into them in varying degrees.

Watch the trailer here:

Each of these movies leaves lingering impressions, carving their own unique place in the vast realm of storytelling. “May December,” “Saltburn,” and “Maestro” share a common thread – they challenge perceptions, evoke emotions, and spark contemplation. Their diverse takes on ‘love’ and intricate storytelling are spellbinding, and I’m eager to see more from all of these creatives.

Latest Article

More Article Like This