Friday, January 8, 2016


Saw this last night in my local theater with a friend and ran into another friend there. All three of us had different responses. The friend I went with felt it was a little over the top and somewhat contrived, the other friend liked it better (like me, she felt Cate Blanchett is always worth watching, and I'll add so is Rooney Mara) but not the ending and thought the shots lingering on their looking at each other were overdone.

But, my take was that their long, lingering, often intense gazes toward each other is the heart of CAROL and made it worth seeing on the big screen. For me it was like the close ups of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in A PLACE IN THE SUN. Movie star charisma at its best. I could have stayed and watched Mara and Blanchett staring at each other in close ups and long shots for a few more hours actually.

The story itself—based on a Patricia Highsmith novel she wrote under another name and many lesbians alive at the time say was the first novel about lesbians in which one of them wasn't dead or in an insane asylum by the end—isn't much, with a splash of suspense creating some tension but two-dimensional male characters undermining that.

But the two stars, Mara and Blanchett, transcend, for me, the problems with the screenplay and casting (again, the male actors were weak for the most part) and director Todd Haynes obvious belief in their talent and charisma supports and articulates that transcendence. So worth seeing for that is my take.

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