Natalie Portman Says That Men and Women Are "Expected to Behave" Differently at Cannes

The actress talked about the societal pressures when promoting her upcoming film, May December.

<p>Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images</p>

Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Natalie Portman is getting real about the “different” expectations society has for women versus men — and she’s not holding back. When attending a press conference in promotion of her upcoming film, May December, at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, the actress reflected on some of the film’s themes while touching on how women are often held to much higher standards, especially at events such as Cannes.

“The whole film is so much about performance and the different roles we play in different environments, for different people, for ourselves, even," Portman, who plays an actress studying a school teacher (played by Julianne Moore) for a role, said. “It’s something I'm definitely curious about and interested in.”

The actress continued, “This aspect of, even here — the different ways we as women are expected to behave at this festival even compared to men. How we're supposed to look, how we're supposed to carry ourselves. The expectations are different on you all the time and it affects how you behave, whether you're buying into it, whether you're rejecting it or whether you're doing something in between," Portman explained. "You're definitely defined by the social structures upon you."

<p>getty images</p>

getty images

Related:Natalie Portman Just Proved Short Shorts Can Be Formal, Too

Beyond discussing themes of societal pressures, the film — which centers around Moore’s relationship with a husband 20 years her junior (played by Charles Melton) — also explores the dynamic of partners with a significant age difference.

“An age gap is one thing, but a relationship between an adult and a child is something else entirely,” Moore shared during the panel when asked about the film’s depiction of the relationship. “Her transgression, I believe, personally, is so enormous that she sort of buries it in her own identity, in her own performative femininity.”

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