Carol (2015)

Director: Todd Haynes
Writer: Phyllis Nagy
Based on: Patricia Highsmith‘s novel The Price of Salt
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro
Seen on: 21.12.2015

Therese (Rooney Mara) works in a department store but dreams of becoming a photographer. When she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), she feels immediately drawn to her. And Carol seems to feel the same. But that society doesn’t accept homosexuality is only one problem the two have: where Therese is young and inexperienced and has a boyfriend (Jake Lacy), Carol is trapped in a marriage with Harge (Kyle Chandler) who doesn’t hesitate to use their daughter to make Carol stay.

Carol is a beautiful film with great performances and a nice story. I can’t find any fault with it and yet, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.


I don’t know what happened with this film and me. There is nothing that I could put my finger on why it wouldn’t work for me. I mean, Todd Haynes is great, Cate Blanchett is awesome, Rooney Mara has delivered as well so far – and all three of them give this film their all. Plus, the production design and the costumes are wonderful and perfectly captured by the cinematography.

The story, too, is interesting and an important one. The (mainstream cinema) world needs epic lesbian love stories and it needs them a lot more thant it realizes and than it’s gotten so far. Carol fulfills this nicely – with drama and sensitivity and a happy end [SPOILER] both women are allowed to survive! And they are allowed to be together, or at least as much as society in the 50s would tolerate [/SPOILER].

carol1And yet, and yet. For some reason I remained at a distance – from Therese, from Carol, from their relationship. I was touched by them, and I was never bored or didn’t empathize. But there remained a rest, a chasm, a gap that I couldn’t bridge. I can only hypothesize what the problem was. Maybe because the film was so stylish that it felt a little unnatural to me? That is my working theory at least.

I did like the film. And I’m determined to watch it again at some point and to see if my reaction is still the same. Because it was certainly good enough for giving it many, many chances. But my first reaction comes with hesitation and a certain coldness, even if I wish it wasn’t so.

carol2Summarizing: Certainly worth it.


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