Posted by: greercn | December 5, 2015

Carol

It’s utterly beautiful. 1950s New York looks like the best place to be, ever.

Except if you are a lesbian and a mother. Then, you’d be better off in 2015. The present is far from perfect, but you can live out and proud, in New York and in quite a few other places.

What’s great here is the heightened urgency of repression and the many hints at deep emotions. Passion is there, but it’s not the swooning type. The British Board of Film Classification warns of “strong infrequent sex” but this is more heavy petting and suggestive stroking.

Voyeurs will enjoy he chance to see most of Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, but there’s a distinct lack of full frontal nudity and I’ve seen too many French films lately, so I noticed that.

Todd Haynes has made a gorgeous and utterly watchable film of Patricia Highsmith’s book “The Price Of Salt”, published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan.

It’s hard for us to imagine the level of taboo in the love story here. I have qualms about the age difference between the two leads, but Phyllis Nagy’s sensitive screenplay never shirks from reminding us of the many differences that exist despite the deep rapport between the women.

And both Blanchett and Mara give utterly stunning performances.

In smaller parts, Kyle Chandler are Sarah Paulson arouse our emotions, as Carol’s husband and ex lover respectively.

It feels made with love. Highsmith has expertise in writing about the rich and the clothes and settings reflect material plenty. This abundance is in sharp contrast to the famished emotions, longing and wanting that are reflected upon here.

If you feel much of this is anachronistic, think about how many countries in 2015 still make the physical acts here illegal.

Much of the story happens in cars and motels and that makes it almost a road movie. But the focus is always on the unsaid and Todd Haynes is the absolute master of hints and suggestions.

Much of it is filmed in and around Cincinnati, substituting for New York and New Jersey.

My Very Intelligent Friend liked it immediately and much more than I did, at first. The Stratford East Picturehouse audience all enjoyed it. I like it much more, given a few days of reflection. It provokes thoughts, feelings and conversation and so few films do that.

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Responses

  1. Glad you got to see it! It’s a good film.

  2. It’s a good film and I enjoyed reading your review. I still never really warm to any of Patricia Highsmith’s characters, but the feelings and the look of this are very special. Thanks for the comment!


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