Natalie Portman Says Women Are 'Expected to Behave' Differently Than Men at Cannes

"How we're supposed to look, how we're supposed to carry ourselves … the expectations are different on you all the time," the Oscar winner said during the Cannes Film Festival press conference for "May December."

Natalie Portman is opening up about how her new film, “May December,” compares to her experience as a female actress at the Cannes Film Festival.

At Sunday’s press conference for the romantic drama at the 2023 event, the Oscar winner said the expectations put on men at the festival versus women are different.

“May December” — directed by Todd Haynes — stars Julianne Moore and Charles Melton as the May-December couple with a 20-year age gap, while Portman portrays an actress preparing to star as Moore’s character in a movie.

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During the press conference, Portman, 41, said the “whole film is so much about performance and the different roles we play in different environments.”

“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,” she continued. “The expectations are different on you all the time. It affects how you behave, whether you are buying into or rejecting it.”

“You’re definitely defined by the social structures upon you,” Portman added.

According to Vogue, Cannes Film Festival previously had an unofficial mandate in which women were required to wear heels on the red carpet. However, the magazine said the rule was subtly revoked in 2018.

According to the Cannes Film Festival website, the logline for “May December” reads: “Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, a married couple buckles under the pressure when an actress arrives to do research for a film about their past.”

Portman and Moore opened up about their roles in the film during the press conference at Cannes.

“It’s incredible to get to be part of a film like this, which has two complex women characters who are full of delicious conflicts,” said Portman, while Moore added, “Women are not a minority group. We’re 50% of the population. So it’s important we’re treated as such.”

“May December” received a six-minute standing ovation.

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