After the majority of his films have played at the New York Film Festival, Todd Haynes has secured his first opening-night selection with May December, which Film at Lincoln Center has announced will kick off the festival’s 61st edition in its North American premiere on September 29. Netflix has also announced the film, starring Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton, will be released in theaters on November 17 and hit Netflix on December 1.

“We are all so proud and moved to have been invited to open the New York Film Festival with the North American premiere of May December,” said director Todd Haynes. “It is a festival that plays a role in my work and life like no other in the world, since it enshrines the cultural life of this city, which is both my creative home as a filmmaker and, as ever, the eternal site of artistic possibility.”

“May December is a tour de force of writing, acting, and directing: a film built on moment-to-moment surprise, as thought-provoking as it is purely pleasurable,” said Dennis Lim, Artistic Director, New York Film Festival. “It cements Todd Haynes’s place as one of American cinema’s most brilliant mischief-makers and as an all-time great director of actors. Todd has been a consistent presence at the New York Film Festival for almost his entire career, and we are very excited to open this edition with one of his most dazzling achievements.”

Luke Hick said in his Cannes review, “Haynes doesn’t seem too concerned with details outside of the major beats and the opportunities to zoom in on particular moments––like Gracie and Joe’s pet shop stock-room hookup the summer after his 7th-grade year, when she was 36––as a way to investigate the characters’ motivations and reads on each other. For as sprawling as the story could be, it exercises immense restraint, making a prosperous theme out of zooming in: the repetition of Christopher Blauvelt’s stunning extreme close-ups on the family’s burgeoning butterfly garden; Gracie’s horse-blinkered awareness of herself; the sudden, comedic zooms; the inquisitive nature of actor Elizabeth Berry’s (Portman) visit.”

NYFF61 runs September 29 through October 15 with passes on sale now. Read our recent interview with Haynes here.

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