Sunday, December 27, 2015

Now, It's Time To Talk About "Carol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                           I went to this film with such anticipation, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I expected "Carol" to be the Picture Of The Year!"

                            I am afraid it's not.

                             The most important thing I learned from this film is--if you are going to be a lesbian, you had better be a lipstick lesbian, and you had better look good, like Cate and Rooney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Let me tell you, for a lowly Fifties shop girl, Rooney's Therese has some wardrobe!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Todd Haynes, to be sure, has given this film a cinematic style.  The period recreations are fabulous; this was an era when men and women knew how to dress, and behave socially.  Though they were not socially enlightened, which was one of the points of the Patricia Highsmith novel, and one the film misses.  For one thing, the whole story is done as a flashback, which worked against things, for me.  For another, during the custody hearing, Carol delivers a histrionic speech that is almost a plea for gay rights--something no one would be voicing, in 1952.  Plus, if she were trying to gain custody of the child, this would have ruined it for her.  And it does.

                                So, darlings, I was not blown away by this film.  I admired the gorgeous visualizations, the exquisite details--places I would love to dine, clothes I would love to wear, houses I would love to be a wife in--but beyond these surface pleasures, "Carol" is disappointing.

                                And so, to a degree, is Cate Blaanchett.  To be sure, her customary acting skill is on display, but I think she is done in by Haynes' direction to play Carol less enigmatically than she is in the book.  In other words, she is too "Hollywood-ized."

                                 However, there are times when one is blown away.  And that is whenever Sarah Paulson, as Carol's friend, ex, and confidante, Abby Gerhard, is on the screen.  Her entire performance should merit an Oscar nomination, and the scene where she confronts Carol's husband, Harge (wonderfully played by Kyle Chandler) should net her the Oscar.  Whenever Sarah is on the screen, the film comes to life in a way it does not when is absent.

                                  And Rooney Mara makes Therese her own.  She is so annoying in the book; Rooney gives this young ingenue type some spine, much in the same way Olivia De Havilland did when playing Melanie in "Gone With The Wind."

                                  Everyone is as good as can be, except the one who needs to be, and that is Cate Blanchett as Carol.  To be sure, this will go in the books as one of her best performances, but, had Haynes been truer to Highsmith's portrayal of her, it could have been truly iconic, and central, the way it to be.

                                  But, see the film for its visual gorgeousness, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Because, once you have seen "Carol," you will throw out that over thumbed copy of "The Well Of Loneliness!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                  "Carol" proves lesbians can be pretty, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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