A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes of surviving assault and finding your power.
Positive Role Models
A group of supportive female friends comforts and helps one another work through difficulties. But their methods are questionable.
Women start out trapped in a world without much choice, but once they're transported elsewhere, they become tough, fight back, and are skilled at what they do. Most of the cast is White, but an AAPI actor is in one of the key supporting roles, and a Black actor plays a small but pivotal role.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters have suffered extreme trauma. Wartime violence, often shown through the eyes of the attacker, including shooting soldiers dead. Also hitting, kicking, fighting, suffocating, and slitting a throat, but wounds generally aren't graphic. One bloody head wound. Through mannerisms and a bruise, a sexual assault is implied with an emphasis on victim's suffering. References to completed deaths by suicide from the perspective of the victims. Young woman climbs into an oven. Mean interactions.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking throughout by most characters. Frequent drinking, including taking shots on the job and taking swigs directly from the bottle/flask.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mayday is a creative but violent revenge fantasy that's a metaphor for reclaiming strength after trauma. The young women in the story are in a sort of purgatory after dying by suicide, which happened after they became the victims of something horrible perpetrated by men. What exactly happened isn't states clearly; the women's healing is positioned as more important than the details of the assault. That said, their method of working out their pain is luring soldiers to locations where they'll be killed. While some men are killed by gunfire and bombs from a distance, those responsible for causing the women's despair suffer a more intense fate. None of it is gory: There's one head wound, received in self-defense. For viewers who are survivors of trauma themselves, the story may serve as a cathartic exhilaration, while others may watch in shock and horror. Ana (Grace Van Patten), the film's moral center, ultimately comes to a similar conclusion, that this isn't the healthiest approach, and that all men aren't monsters. The women are clever, powerful, and strategic, and they participate in habits often associated with men in classic war films, i.e. smoking constantly and drinking alcohol straight from the bottle. Sex and language aren't issues. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Some men may hate this artistic, visionary, and brilliantly original feminine fantasy -- so be sure to read critical reviews with that in mind. In a world in which one in three women will experience sexual assault, writer-director-producer Karen Cinorre invents a catharsis to allow women with that tragic shared experience to feel seen and vindicated. Not that Mayday's action or dialogue ever spell out that the women's trauma is sexual assault -- and it's possible that it might not be. That's for you, the viewer, to determine. We're given enough clues to know that something very, very bad happened to each of them, something that felt like too much to bear. But the lack of more concrete information could leave audiences, including teens, confused. And the film's narrative is uncomfortably discombobulated, much like a dream.
Cinorre plunges viewers into an alternate reality (literally -- we get to the women's "fantasy island" through an ocean portal). Once there, the world is a much brighter place, with beautiful scenery, close friendships, and hours to relax in the bay's healing waters. It's Neverland, and these are the Lost Girls, finding their way back to themselves. Ana and her female companions express comfort and friendship like teen girls do: snuggling, sharing beds, and having private midnight talks. Eventually, we discover that they are modern-day sirens, using naval distress calls to lure in male "rescuers." Kudos to Cinorre for exploring the mythology of sirens from their perspective, using ancient Greek myths as the foundation to tell the more modern-day story. The subject matter is mature, but the former victims are no longer fragile: They're fierce, literally fighting a battle of the sexes. Mayday isn't going to be for everyone, but for those who get it, it's a revelation.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.