Movie Review: Carol (2015)

Posted: April 28, 2016 in Drama
Tags: ,


During Christmas 1951, Carol Ard (Cate Blanchett) wants to buy a present for her daughter.  She strikes up a conversation with the girl behind the counter, Therese Belivet. (Rooney Mara) Carol orders a train set for her daughter and leaves he gloves behind.  When Carol gets the train set and gloves delivered to her house, she invites Carol to her house for a visit.  Carol and husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) who wants to stay married to Carol, but senses there is more to the relationship between Carol and Therese.  Harge finally files an injunction for full custody of their daughter Rindy.  In response Carol takes Therese on a trip to Chicago.  What happens in Chicago?  Who gets custody of Rindy, is the relationship between Carol and Therese more than meets the eye?

Carol is a movie, not about love, it’s not about lesbianism in the repressive 1950’s.  Hollywood wants the viewer to think it’s about love, or a lesbian relationship, but it’s not.  It’s about irresponsible actions, forget that the two women may or may not be lovers, if a 50 year old man, took a 20 something year old girl on a road trip in the middle of a custody battle, who would get custody of the child in that situation?  The answer is simple, and it has nothing to do with the person’s sexual orientation or the era in which the story takes place.  The story is written in such a way that there can be no other conclusion.  I didn’t like the Carol character, I could not tell if she was truly in love or if she was some kind of predator, preying on a girl who was vulnerable and unsure of her feelings.  The first hour of the movie is filled with come hither stares and innuendo laden dialogue, and the viewer is thinking, “Get on with it.’ And of course there are the salacious scenes, they are in there too, in the guise of “an important topic being handled sensitively” but it’s pure titillation. The ending is non-committal, so the viewer leaves with no answers only questions.

The acting left me cold.  Cate Blanchett, who I generally like, had this far away bemused look on her face that really made me wonder what the heck was going on with this character?  Rooney Mara, who I generally don’t like, had this deer in the headlights look on her face, and gave a flat, dull reading as Therese.  Why she was ever nominated for an Oscar is beyond me. And Kyle Chandler was way over the top angry throughout the film, totally uncalled for.

The direction is suspect, at best.  The pacing is morbidly slow, the music suggests melodrama that doesn’t exists, and the director chooses strange arthouse shots of things that the viewer is forced to see, not necessarily where the eye wants to go.  The director also covers some shots with a gauzy film like sheen and shoots the whole film in a sepia tone.  There were visual flourishes that were unnecessary.

Carol:  Cate caters to the worst of Hollywood’s impulses.


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