Ladies of Horror May-hem: May Dove Canady


Oh, I’ve been waiting to draw this name. After all, who better to represent the month of May-hem than that lovely, shy lass, May Canady?

Written and directed by Lucky McKee, May introduces us to this eponymous young woman, in all her lonely, socially inept glory. May’s a bit of a strange bird. She lacks any skill when it comes to interacting with others, whether it’s her overly friendly coworker Polly or hunky mechanic Adam. She’d like to connect with others, but she very obviously lacks any experience when it comes to relationships. She spent most of her life ostracized by a particularly difficult-to-manage lazy eye, which caused her to grow up practically friendless. In fact, her “best friend” Suzie is a doll her mother made for her with the explanation, “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”

Great advice, Mom. Too bad your little girl’s going to hold you to that when she grows up.

An optometrist finally helps fix May’s physical problem, but the emotional damage is already done. She does try to become more social and form normal bonds with others. She doesn’t really enjoy the entirety of others, though. She quickly realizes that people are holistically imperfect…but she is a believer that everyone has something to offer her. Something that can help make the perfect friend.

Bringing May to life was the Xenaean (yeah, I just made that up to take the place of “Herculean”; what of it?) task taken on by actress Angela Bettis. I’d never seen Bettis before this movie. Now, I can’t see her as anyone other than May at first blush. For all the terrible things that we watch May do, Bettis is able to convey those broken parts of May’s psyche in such a way that I can understand why she ends up doing the things she does. Not condone them…but understand them. Thanks to Bettis’s skill and obvious respect for this role, May’s denouement, though shocking and a little heave-inducing, makes sense when viewed through the lens of May’s shattered perspective on reality.

Ultimately, May exists as a reminder that looking solely at the exterior is never a good way to choose someone for friendship. Oh, and always be careful when giving advice to little kids. Prophets help you if they take everything you say literally…