Academy Award winner Cate Blanchette and Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara in a boundary pushing drama from acclaimed director Todd Haynes that’s been adored by critics? This all sounds great, but why was the trailer so bad? And more importantly, why did it seemingly try to hide the same-sex love story? I understand that this is considered ‘controversial’ by audiences that are backwards thinking and narrow-minded, but this film wasn’t made to make money, it was made to be art, so why hide that? More important than any of this, is the film actually any good?
Set in the 1950’s, Carol is the story of Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), who lives a fairly normal life working in a department store in New York, who finds herself falling for Carol Aird (Cate Blanchette), an older married woman who’s currently going through a divorce.
Well, the term ‘falling for’ doesn’t quite feel right. I don’t know if it’s the source material (the film is based on the book ‘The Price of Salt’), the screenplay, or the performances, but something about the relationship between the two leads just doesn’t work. The ‘flirting’ is awkward and uncomfortable, there is absolutely no chemistry between the two main characters, and the whole thing seems a little creepy, with Carol coming across as more of a predator than a genuine love interest. The relationship consists of her buying Therese expensive things, taking her to nice places, and expecting their relationship to develop. If the older character in this film had been male, it would’ve been released as a cautionary tale or psychological thriller, and it comes across more like 50 Shades of Grey than a classic romance. There’s even one moment where Therese claims to ‘never say no’, which makes it seem even more like she’s a confused young woman than somebody who’s falling in love.
The film looks great, with the time period being perfectly depicted via costumes and make-up, and the score has some wonderful moments, but none of this makes up for the boredom I felt during this film. The pace in painfully slow, and there are seemingly endless scenes that aren’t important, and add unnecessarily to the run time.
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