Monday, January 25, 2016

Carol (2015)

Rating: 3.5/4 Stars

Directed by: Todd Haynes
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, and Kyle Chandler.
Released: November 20th, 2015

Oscar Nominations: Best Actress, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, and Costume Design. 

When attending this film I was apprehensive to sit for two hours to watch a lesbian love story because quite frankly I could careless about a lesbian drama love story. It has nothing to being against lesbians but since I am attracted to men it is quite difficult to watch a film featuring two women falling in love and witnessing all that nakedness and find it appealing. The end result that force me to head on to the theaters and observe this film is because of Cate Blanchett. Ms. Blanchett is one of the best Actresses currently in Hollywood and no matter what the film is about, if she is featured in the movie then it has to be a captivating film. My encounter with Cate Blanchett began with the Queen Elizabeth's films and she has grown to this magnificent actress since that occasion

While the film is focused on Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett), the main narrator is Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara). We see these lovely women at a table in the lounge of the Ritz Hotel. At first there is no dialogue because we are distracted by this random man who heads to the bar to buy a drink. After he finishes his chit-chat with the bartender and snooping around, he sees Therese and interrupts the lovely couple. Automatically based on the clothes and the form of dialogue, the audience should be able to detect that this story takes place in the 1950s. The man who interrupts is one of Therese's colleagues, Jack, and wonders if Therese is heading to the party.

Clearly these two women were having a heavy conversation and Therese wanted to finish the discussion but Carol got up and said her goodbyes and touches Therese in the shoulder. I do not know about you or the audience but I felt  heartbroken and pain when I capture that scene and it leaves me to believe these women had a sad breakup and a passionate romance. It dawned on me that I may actually enjoy this film and for the most part I was thoroughly entertain. As Therese and her colleagues head to the party, she stares at the moving cars passes her by and immediately we are shifted back into a flashback as to how Therese and Carol met.

Therese Belivet is an aspiring photographer, who works at Frankenberg's department story during the Christmas season. She has a boyfriend, Richard, who wants to marry her and she's indifferent about the whole experience and it seems by their interaction that Therese is clueless with what she wants to do with her life since her photography career is nonexistent. Then one day on the job, she encounters this beautiful blonde woman whose mysterious and brings out this sexual aura  that draws Therese's attention. Her name is Carol and she wants to purchase a doll for her daughter and unfortunately it is sold out. Therese persuades Carol to buy a train set that can be shipped to her house and seals the deal. Whether on purpose or not, Carol left her gloves at the counter and as an act of kindness or wanting to get to know more about Carol, Therese sends Carol's gloves through the mail and the interaction begins.

As this relationship is slowly developing, we get an inside peek into Carol's life. She has a beautiful daughter, Rindy, who is the light of her world and rich husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler) who she is currently divorcing. It is fascinating to watch Carol relations with Harge because it is a deeply complicated matter. Homosexuality wasn't a normal household topic in the 1950s and my preconceived notions was that Carol was going to cheat on her husband, fall in love with Therese, and live happily ever after. That clearly didn't happen. The husband has known for years that she has had relations with other woman but in his mind it seems as though this type of "behavior" can be treated by medical experts and he still wants a happy family; at least for Rindy to grow up with both of her parents and he is keen on using Rindy as a threat to make Carol stay in this awful marriage.

I wished I had read the book before entering this film because the acting was superb in this film except for Rooney Mara's character. I do not know Carol and Therese's age and would like to know because based on their looks and their relationship it felt as though Carol could be Therese's mother. I disliked tremendously that Therese's behavior towards life, relationships, and sex was indifferent and says yes to everything without accepting the consequences which she admits during the film but I wished they had another actress to play this role. I highly doubt she is going to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress because it wasn't believable. But do you know who stole the show?... Cate Blanchett and Kyle Chandler. 

The fights that they had through the film was uncomfortable and realistic that I found myself closer to the edge of the seat captivated by this couples quarrels. Those scenes are what makes me regret that I failed to read the novel because I guarantee you it goes into depth about this marriage and how Carol wants to escape and yet still be a mother and have joint custody. In the end I do not believe Carol is not an Oscar worthy film and in light of that I will admit that Cate Blanchett is the light of the out tunnel for this film and her performance and would not be surprised if she wins the Oscar come February 28th. Now I need to see the rest of the nominees to prepare an accurate judgment. 

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