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

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

Natalie Portman is speaking up for women as she joins fellow Hollywood actors at the Cannes Film Festival.

At a press conference for her new movie May December Sunday, she talked about the film's portrayal of performative femininity. She said, "The whole film is so much about performance and the different roles we play in different environments, for different people, for ourselves, even."

In it, Portman plays an actress researching a real-life woman (played by Julianne Moore) for an upcoming movie project.

She said that we, as people, take on and are expected to play different roles, not only on screen, but in so many parts of life. "This aspect of, even here—the different ways we as women are expected to behave at this festival even compared to men," she continued. "How we're supposed to look, how we're supposed to carry ourselves."

cannes, france may 21 natalie portman attends the may december photocall at the 76th annual cannes film festival at palais des festivals on may 21, 2023 in cannes, france photo by samir husseinwireimage
Samir Hussein - Getty Images

"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 added. "You're definitely defined by the social structures upon you."

The actress didn't go into detail about the double standards she alluded to—but she has in the past.

In 2019, while promoting her science-fiction drama Lucy in the Sky (based on a true story about a woman astronaut Lucy Cola who has trouble transitioning back into normal life on Earth after her mission), she noted that women and men are not often celebrated for the same qualities.

"The same behavior can be categorized completely differently between men and women, and that’s sort of what happens in the movie," Portman said on the BUILD Series. "The first men who went to space, they agreed to strap themselves to a bomb… They’re all so brilliant, scientists and pilots and engineers, but they also were daredevils. Then when she (her character) does something that’s kind of daredevil… she’s reprimanded for it as being reckless. So you see that… the same qualities that might be celebrated in one might be put down in another gender."

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