The First Monday in May (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

The First Monday in May (2016)

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Critic Consensus: First Monday in May may not resonate far beyond its target demographic, but for fashion aficionados, it should prove utterly absorbing.

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The First Monday in May follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's most attended fashion exhibition in history, "China: Through The Looking Glass," an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Andrew Rossi captures the collusion of high fashion and celebrity at the Met Gala, one of the biggest global fashion events chaired every year by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. Featuring a cast of renowned artists in many fields (including filmmaker Wong Kar Wai and fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano) as well as a host of contemporary pop icons like Rihanna, the movie dives into the debate about whether fashion should be viewed as art.

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Critic Reviews for The First Monday in May

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (16)

The kind of party you'll almost definitely never get an invite to.

September 26, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

If you don't care about fashion there is another issue that unfolds fascinatingly over the course of the film: whether the theme of "the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion" is actually a celebration of Orientalism.

May 4, 2016 | Full Review…

Gorgeous, gossipy, yet penetrating documentary about the marriage of culture and commerce.

April 28, 2016 | Full Review…

There are many deliciously revealing moments, including discussions about who will sit where at the gala - there has to be a celebrity at every table - and whether Vogue can afford to pay Rihanna twice the usual fee to entertain the guests.

April 22, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Will lights and hardware be ready? Can they afford the $200K demanded by headliner Rihanna? The viewer's pulse may rise, too, as Rossi's camera roams frantic hallways, offices and limos.

April 21, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The film's focus is too easily distracted by celebrity and turns less documentary and more fawning love letter to an industry already in love with itself.

April 21, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The First Monday in May

A less than pretty backstory of the annual Met Gala, which raises millions for the Metropolitan Museum and is led by the Met and by Vogue magazine via its New York editor, Anna Wintour. This one was themed around haute couture fashions inspired by western movie images of pre-communist China. There are plenty of derogatory attitudes filmed, including the stunning idea that there is no modern culture in China, and some breathtaking lack of elementary history or politics, let alone diplomacy. There are insults, in front of a live camera, towards key Chinese partners, or as soon as backs are turned. The key phrase on the Gala night is "two cultures" at which, if the shoe were on the other foot and the Chinese had done a similarly limited show, Americans would have taken offence. Elsewhere, the film covers inadequately the controversy around Galliano, who is interviewed. In a sexist pun, Anna Wintour gets dubbed "dragon lady", a caricature of powerful Chinese women, when her management decisions seem reasonable enough. The red carpet could resemble a pseudo-Chinese fancy dress parade. If you are against modern China, or you can simply ignore behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated at your job, in your class, or among your friends, then you might approach this piece as a celeb mag on wheels. You see the Gala exhibition; you see inside the St Laurent vault in Paris where the Mondrian is pulled out, and inside Wintour's home; Gaultier and Lagerfeld are interviewed; top Met officials insist that the eclectic exhibits not turn the Museum into an amusement park, or just wallpaper for the dresses. And there are wall-to-wall celebs throughout. Was the film intended as an exposé? It seems not. You really are supposed to be in awe. But perhaps its value lies in the fact that it didn't fully ken what it was revealing.

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